DnD Adventure: Backstories

DnD Adventures: Backstories | Roleplaying | Tabletop Games | Gaming | DoublexJump.com

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When we first started up our original D&D campaign, the first full-fledged adventure after a two-session tutorial run, I recall our DM giving us players a moment saying, “Now’s the time when your characters should introduce themselves and tell a little bit about your backgrounds so I can use those details against you later.” Of course, the only one of us with a fairly detailed background was the cleric, as he had more D&D experience than the rest of us combined. Our bard had a couple of details, but only because this was her player’s second, perhaps, adventure rather than her first. Rachel’s and my characters, though, didn’t really have much of a background.

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For my first character, I filled out the basic stuff and the rest was unknown. The back of my character sheet was just about blank other than her height. I didn’t want to create an elaborate backstory and try to stick with it. I wanted to see how my character would react in certain situations throughout the campaign. However, with my second campaign character, I created a basic background per the DM’s request. And, honestly? I think I like it better than not having a background at all.

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I had a basic idea of my first character’s background, but it was mainly from the suggestions that the Player’s Handbook gave. If pressed, her basic motivation was to find more information on her parents, as she’s a half-elf and grew up in the wilderness. Other than that, though, her background was a blank slate as well. It’s pretty much on par for even the characters I create for novels. I let them run around and act out on their own, learning bits and pieces from them as I go about it. At this point, we’ve each created a couple of other characters for more campaigns and my characters’ backgrounds are more filled out. Our current DM’s homebrew world has plenty of backgrounds for us to adapt to, and we found that creating the backgrounds definitely helps to flesh out our characters more.

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Reese has a decent background. I not only used the background ideas from the Player’s Handbook, like you, but also our DM has created a semi-homebrew campaign. He had some background ideas fleshed out based on somethings in the handbook. Reese is from the Wetlands, and she follows the River Goddess. She’s very much into keeping the waters clean and she loves boats. She crafts boats and loves to go on water-based adventures.

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I have a tiefling druid who is seeking knowledge about the world’s inner workings and is very exasperated with our current campaign since it is keeping her from reading, haha! Having more of a background for the characters also helps the DM since, if they know of the character’s background, they’re able to incorporate the characters more in the world the DM created. Entwining the characters’ goals based on what they’ve experienced in their history with the world is a common goal for every DM, I believe. Some DMs like to receive copies of the players’ characters beforehand to approve them, be sure their abilities and backgrounds would work with the world too. I think we have a happy medium with our current characters, having enough of an idea as to where the character comes from, but still figuring out their innermost traits by playing them.

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I agree, I think it helps all of us. Not just ourselves and the DM, but the other players as well. We have something to bounce off from. With that said, the next time you make a character, are you going to create a backstory or try to wing it again?

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A mixture, I think. I want to give my characters enough of a backstory so I have some defining traits to roleplay them with. After all, backgrounds and history help to shape the characters. Yet, I don’t want to so rigorously define my character with a history that there’s little chance of further development.

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That’s fair and I can totally agree with that. I think, though, our DM opened my eyes to the backstories and the possibilities of how I can have fun with my character’s backstory. I might try to create backstories more often than not now.

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DnD Adventures: Virtual Sessions

DnD Adventures: Virtual Sessions | Dungeons and Dragons | Tabletop Games | Gaming | DoublexJump.com

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Since the world is currently shut down, we’re not able to see our friends and have our normal monthly DnD session. We miss it, especially we had our own go-to snacks and drinks for each session. We were in a routine and it was fun. However, we’ve been doing virtual sessions to keep in touch and, because we all have more free time, we’ve been doing a session every two weeks as opposed to monthly.

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At this time, we’re doing a new campaign where another member of our group is the DM. It’s really odd not being with everyone in the same room to play — that, and we always got these awesome sandwiches from a place near our friends’ house — but we’re making due. The first virtual session, Rachel unfortunately missed, but her character was with us in spirit. We started off in a fight and, upon winning, took the survivor of the opposing group to interrogate. Turns out he was part of a following that wanted to stop a blasphemous play that may bring the Dark One back to life. We agreed to help by pretending to be on the opposite side, playing along with the director of the play. Per the director’s instructions, we got rid of the vermin in the old playhouse so the play could go on. Once we finished, the director attempted to convince our party to join the play, but my character especially was adamant against it. Instead, we told him we’d talk to a famous actress that he wanted for a special part to see if she would be willing to join.

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I’m sorry Reese wasn’t there for that. She would have been delighted at the chance to be in a play! There was an elf that the director wanted in the play. So, in our next session (where Reese was present), our group tracked down this elf. We found ourselves at the Glittering Wood Cafe where there were a lot of serene elves, whispering to one another. They were kind, though sounded as though they were under some sort of spell. We were given tea and Reese gulped it down getting a bit tipsy as a result.

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I believe all the characters got a little drunk off this tea except for our group’s high elf, haha! It was great because Reese was tipsy enough to firmly believe that the actress was going to be her new best friend and, with the help of our sober high elf, spoke to the actress and convinced her to join this play. We promised she’d be safe, giving her a badge from the group that was trying to trap the blasphemous people putting on the said play, to indicate that she shouldn’t be harmed.

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By the way, we’re not naming this elf actress because our DM gave her a name I have no idea how to pronounce or spell so I called her L the whole time. Luckily for us, she agreed and the following day, the play went on. However, as predicted, right at the climax of the play, some of the actors became possessed and tried to summon the Dark Lord. Thus, a battle ensued with many of the audience members dying in the process. We won the battle overall, but… we lost at the same time.

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Haha, our DM kept changing up the spelling of the name, adding more Ls and apostrophes each time we tried to ask! During the battle of the play, the director was killed and we were able to protect the actress and ourselves, but despite our best efforts, the spell to release the Dark Lord was done. Our group was exhausted, returned to the following that had helped to put an end to the play, and vowed to find out more regarding the Dark Lord. The next morning, we stepped out of the inn and were met with a bunch of disciples and scholars blaming us for the Dark Lord’s release. Considering we had attempted to go to them for help first before all the play nonsense and were dismissed, we threw the blame right back at them.

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Reese stopped the director from doing something fishy – we weren’t sure if we could trust him or not. In the middle of the battle, I called to our elf (we were all dying and she was closest to him) that he was doing something weird and… well, she rolled really well and burned him to a crisp. So, I’m not sure if we did the right thing in killing him or not, but what’s done is done. Anyway, now those scholars have decided to help us. We were brought down into a basement, cellar, type thing searching for more answers about this Dark Lord.

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Rather, we’re all in this together now to stop the Dark Lord from coming to full power and doing anything awful to the world. The scholars asked us to go deep into the archives of their symposium and library to find more information on the Dark Lord, basically because not many go down there so who knows what monsters may have sprung up, as well as the fact that we don’t know the ancient language, so there’s less of a chance that we will be corrupted.

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Ah, yes. The library. I forgot where we went so I opted for “basement, cellar, type thing.” Anyway, while we were down there, we came across a door that had a stack of scrolls that weren’t dusty and old as the rest of them. We tried to stake out the door – since there seemed to be no lock, key, or handle of some sort, and came across someone knocking on the door. It opened from the other side and our group sprang into action once more.

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We confronted the person, another scholar, who knew how to get the door to open and persuaded her to get the door open for us to go and explore further down the archives. You want to know what was on the other side of the door? Baboons. They were some type of baboon that we knocked down the stairs on the other side of the door. We left the session with our group staring at these baboons and trying to figure out if they would be friendly enough to let us explore the archives.

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DnD Adventures: New Characters, New Adventure!

DnD Adventures: New Characters New Adventure | Dungeons and Dragons | Tabletop Games | Gaming | Role Playing Games | DoublexJump.com

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Now that we’ve finished our first starter campaign with our writer’s group, we’ve moved onto the next. Last month, we did an “episode zero.” We have a different DM who, ironically enough, also hosts our writer’s group. We spent a couple of hours creating our characters together before moving onto an introductory session. This time around, I’m a halfling cleric who goes by the name Reese Riverspoon. The first name came to me the moment I created the character while the surname took me a bit. She resides in the wetlands, her city floating on a river. She’s a carpenter who builds boats, so… I felt the pun was appropriate.

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This current campaign is a homebrew world courtesy of our DM, so we spent some time hearing bits and pieces of the world’s lore as well as how the races would react to one another. I decided to make a tiefling druid. I really enjoyed the ranger class and the connection it had with nature and animals, so I figured a druid would be different enough while also keeping some of those connections. My character is simply named Faith to go with the virtue names that the player’s handbook suggested for the race as well as the fact that she was found and raised by a gnome monk in one of the world’s temples. She’s on a journey to learn and understand more of the history of her temple when she gets caught up with the rest of the group.

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Yes, my character, Reese, worships the God of Nature and Great River. She was asked by the goddess herself to watch over the waters, keep them clean, safe, and the like. I’m eager for this story because with the starter campaign we were learning the ropes of DnD and didn’t have much of a character-plot connection. This time around, each character has a purpose and background that will affect where we go, who we talk to, all the whole moving along our individual subplots and the major plot.

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When we were finished creating our characters, our DM gave us a sort of pop quiz regarding any bonds our characters had with each other and our reason for being on a quest. He gave us each a question about our character’s pasts, asking what our purposes were for heading to the first city. Aside from that, we were also asked specific questions where we were to choose one of the other characters as the answer in order for us to already know one or two others in the group as opposed to all of us being strangers thrown together. Our answers ended up creating a chain of everyone knowing someone and we all ended up on Reese’s boat while heading toward the first city. It gave us some early role-playing ideas and purposes for our characters.

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I found that to be quite enlightening. Especially since I don’t typically come up with backstories right away because I’d like to get a feel for my character. However, being asked specific questions allowed me base my character on some things that are already known. Thus, we began with our motley crew arriving at the first city and already running into some mystery and trouble.

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It was great to already have a bit of a backstory drawn up for our characters to give them purposes and budding relationships. In this world, our characters arrived with some purposes like my Faith heading to the simposium to learn more about her temple’s history and Rachel’s Reese wishing to know more about the waterways and boats around the port city. Our characters wandered towards the theater district, got contracted to help clean out some vermin from an old theater so it can be renovated, then promptly got word that the person who contracted us to do so was planning on performing something dedicated to the dark god, who is basically called He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named like Voldemort.

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Being a halfling, Reese was able to sneak into the library after it closed while the guards spoke to the rest of the party about not being allowed in. She got some more information on the man who hired them through a chatty and gossip-loving librarian. When she left the library, they all went back to the shady Inn they’re staying at. Except they were met with a surprise instead.

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The inn itself wasn’t as shady as it was cheap. Like, we surprised the NPC that we chose to stay at that particular inn and he was so excited to have guests. It was a little strange, but we figured it wasn’t the strangest thing we’d see all day. On our way back to that inn after visiting the library, we were surprised with a mob rushing at us and… we left the session at that. Come next month, we’ll probably be rolling right into initiative! We’re definitely looking forward to seeing what comes next!

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Debate: D&D’s Ranger vs Sorcerer

Debate: Ranger Vs Sorcerer | Dungeons and Dragons | Gaming | DoublexJump.com

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Considering how much we’ve been enjoying our D&D campaign, we decided that this month’s debate will pit our characters’ classes against one another. We’re still fairly new to D&D and this is obviously just our personal opinions, but today I’m trying to convince Rachel that she should give the Ranger class a try instead of sticking to her magic class of Sorcerer. I mean, for one thing, Rangers can have animal companions when they level up. How cool is that?

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While it’s true a ranger has the ability to tame animals as companions, sorcerers can have the skill to be proficient in intimidation as well as persuasion. Sorcerers don’t need an animal to do the lip-curling for them. Speaking of skills, sorcerers can also be deceptive and have more insight than the rest of their party members allowing them to be more sly and also have more knowledge than everyone else at times.

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I can counter the skills that lean towards Sorcerers with the skills that benefit Rangers more — dexterity and wisdom are the more popular abilities, and skills such as stealth, survival, and persuasion, as well. Granted, all of those skills and abilities are dependent on how one builds their character, so these can be moot points. Something that I really like about Rangers is their Fighting Style that they gain at 2nd level. Gaining a specialty when it comes to fighting is fantastic, be it giving bonuses to hit points such as Archery or attack like with Dueling.

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Okay, but hear me out… Magic. Sorcerers have magic so not only can they fight with regular weapons, but they have an arsenal at their fingertips – or staff, or whatever they use for magic. If we’re comparing levels, Sorcerers gain a lot at their second level as well such as flexible casting and sorcery points allowing them to use even more magic.

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To go with magic, Rangers can also learn a decent arsenal of spells. Not as much as Sorcerers, no, but Rangers can be magically inclined. Their spells can be more nature-focused, helping out with the environment the party finds them in or dissuading creatures from attacking them. Even if Rangers couldn’t use any magic, they tend to have more strength to back up their regular attacks. Magic can’t solve every problem, but an arrow can cause a decent amount of damage in most situations.

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Magic can help with a lot of situations depending on the spells you know. Sure, rangers are typically stronger when it comes to physical attacks, but that also depends on your dice roll when you create and level up your character. Speaking of magic, it comes from a dragon bloodline. I’m part dragon, so there.

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That’s your best shot? Admittedly, being part dragon is pretty cool, and it was honestly one of the backgrounds I was thinking of when we first created our characters. Yet, dragons can easily be the Ranger’s favored enemy, allowing the Ranger more knowledge against those with dragon blood. As a Ranger also grows in level, so does her attacks and speed. There will be times when Rangers gain extra attacks and roll bonuses to ensure that their hits will be true.

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I’m ignoring you. Being part dragon with magic is cool. Therefore, sorcerers beat rangers. The end.

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D&D Adventures: Head-Eating Worms And Snarl

Dungeons & Dragons Adventures: Head Eating Worms and Snarl | Tabletop Games | Gaming | Roleplaying | DoublexJump.com

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Our November session of our D&D campaign continued our exploration of Cragmaw Castle. There was plenty of goblins to defeat and investigation rolls to mess up as we searched through the place for Gundrun Rockseeker, the dwarf that sent us on our original quest so long ago.

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Sapphire, my character, rolled pretty well when it came to finding hidden doors throughout the castle. I believe I ended up finding about three. As far as I know, we explored every inch of that place. Aside from exploring, getting a new companion, and one of our party members almost being eaten, we didn’t get much accomplished.

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I think we’re still in the middle of the castle, actually. Our dragonborn rogue almost got her head eaten by a creature called a Grick, a worm thing that kind of descended from the ceiling onto her as we explored old, decrepit hallways. Fortunately, she still has her head, and our explorations were occasionally rewarded with treasures and alcoves dedicated to statues of various gods. Our cleric wasn’t thrilled, since none of them were his god, but he’s usually a good sport about it all. Eventually, we came across a handful of enemies holding onto Gundrun. We slayed the enemies and, to the amused exasperation of our DM, tamed another wolf by the name of Snarl. My ranger now has both Ripper and Snarl accompanying the party because my ranger dislikes killing wolves. It is agreed that we add no more pets to the party.

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We probably are. Sapphire doesn’t pay attention to too much. Poor Sora, one of our party members, got their head almost eaten because whenever we have to enter a new room, they typically volunteer to go in first. In that sense, they kind of get the short end of the stick whenever there are enemies and they end up attacking us first. We all tried attacking it without hurting Sora in the process. I believe Sapphire ended up burning the Grick with cold fire magic.

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I believe Sapphire, and then Ripper, were the MVPs of that particular fight. Sora is tough, though, and a little too headstrong for her own good, haha! Being the dragonborn, she has a decent amount of hit points to warrant her love of bashing through doors and hallways to get where we need to go. I believe we ended this particular session with us fighting off a horde of goblins in a tiny room. The room was tiny enough that I just had Ripper and Snarl wait in the next room but without the wolves, the fight was slow because we all somehow kept missing our targets!

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Oh, yes. I remember the tiny room. This was another point in our adventure where our DM could do nothing but facepalm at our decisions. That was another interesting battling since none of us could really move anywhere. That was what ended our last session though. So, we still have some exploring to do the next time we meet.

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D&D Adventures: Dragon!

Dungeons & Dragons Adventures: Dragon | Tabletop Games | Gaming | Role-Playing Games | DoublexJump.com

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We’re a bit behind with our D&D Adventures series. This is about our October session when we went back to the main storyline after having our previous grinding session. We were in a town that our cleric seemed to recognize. Rather, he recognized that it may share his religion, so we went forth to see if there was anyone he knew. Instead, we found plenty of giant spiders, which we were not happy about, before continuing on to the Dragon Tower.

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We entered the tower and explored it for quite a bit. We entered a lot of rooms, killed a lot of things, and gained experience points. However, our main goal was to get rid of the dragon, Venomfang, and make him leave and stop terrorizing the town.

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When we first heard of Venomfang, the young dragon, terrorizing the town, my first reaction was, “Can we adopt him?” Our DM said no, unfortunately, haha! With that said, we eventually climbed through the tower and, at first, attempted to convince Venomfang to go and find another tower to haunt. He didn’t take the suggestion too kindly at first.

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We ended up battling. However, one of our companions is Dragonborn and didn’t want to battle the dragon. They tried to convince Venomfang to leave and that we didn’t want to hurt him. While the rest of us took a swing at him (or tried to, depending on our dice rolls), we mostly stopped and ended up taking turns trying to convince the dragon to leave… thus, confusing it. This also made me remember that my own character has dragon ancestry so our friend wasn’t the only one who could speak the dragon language – I could too. 

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My personal character’s charisma is dismal, so I focused more on getting a hit off here and there, as well as using her Ensnaring Strike to keep Venomfang stuck in place while the others convinced him to leave. I believe a handful of our party members rolled high enough in intimidation and persuasion to make Venomfang say, “I’m out!” and fly out of the tower.

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Yes, we eventually confused the poor sap enough for him to finally give up and leave. Our DM was exasperated with us because we tend to pity the creatures we have to fight. Apparently, we were never going to kill the dragon. Once it got down to a certain amount of hit points, it was going to retreat. This is part of the starter campaign, but our DM knows us all too well.

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But, hey, the hits we did get off on the dragon were pretty good! Still, we were proud of ourselves for being successful in this part of the campaign. We all got to stretch some of our attacks and, at the time, newer spells, as well as practice diplomacy. We were about to leave the room when a handful of us rolled perception to see if anything else was around. The only one who rolled well enough to find anything was, actually, Ripper the wolf. Our DM mentioned how Ripper was, “looking intently up one of the walls,” so we called our Dragonborn rogue back into the room to scale the said wall. She chucked a treasure chest back down to the rest of us and we divided the loot.

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We’re not a very classy group (we’re pretty derpy) but we somehow get by. It’s always a lot of fun.

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D&D Adventures: A New Tale

Dungeons & Dragons Adventures: A New Tale | Tabletop Games | Tabletop RPG | Tabletop Roleplaying | RPG Games | Roleplaying Games | Gaming | Group Games | DoublexJump.com

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With a couple of Dungeons & Dragons sessions under our belts, our little newbie group decided to try out a longer campaign with original characters rather than the pre-made characters from the starter kit. We did well enough creating our own characters, although their backstories aren’t much yet. I decided to go with a ranger half-elf named Kalythra who is much better with animals than she is with people.

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And my character is named Sapphire, a sorcerer wood elf. Our group has a new member as well – we play with two members of our local writer’s group and their roommate but now the host of our writer’s group has joined us. So, there’s six of us – our DM and five players.

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It was actually funny how our workshop facilitator joined. At the end of the last writer’s group meeting, he made a point to make the rest of us pause and we thought we were going to discuss the future of the workshop, considering our library’s remodel has made many more people ask to join. However, instead, he clasped his hands and pleaded to join our D&D sessions, haha! It was a great time, though, especially since he has much more experience in D&D than the rest of us.

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Yes, he has more experience than us which made us realize that we’ve been playing wrong. We were adding our “attack bonus” to our damage this whole time rather than our initial rolls to see if we actually hit our target.

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I mean, we’ve been doing alright, but it would have been helpful to know our attack bonuses for the previous sessions when we kept missing most of our hits, haha! The rest of the characters consisted of a human bard, a human cleric, and a dragonborn rogue, so we were a well-rounded group. The campaign is based on the one that is found in the starting kit, and we were tasked with delivering a caravan of goods to another trading post by a dwarf. Our group didn’t get too far before finding the dead horses of the dwarf and the warrior that had been escorting him.

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Needless to say, we ended up getting sidetracked and ended up in a cave when a bunch of goblins attacked the group ahead of us. Now, in order to save them, we must kill the goblin in charge so the goblin holding our guy captive can be in charge. We’ll see how that goes.

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With our track record, we’ll execute our plans poorly, but they’ll still work somehow. Granted, this is also just to save the warrior — I can’t quite remember what happened to the dwarf that had contracted us for this task in the first place. Our group is a bunch of misfits rather than a heroic team. The dragonborn “adopted” a goblin as a pet, our bard actually has a ukulele to play at the table, Rachel’s wood elf is constantly like, “Wtf am I doing here?” and my half-elf is more concerned with the various animals we’ve encountered than actually completing this mission. The cleric seems to somewhat have his head on straight, thank goodness, but it is quite amusing to hear him continuously preach the good word of his patron god, the God of Doctors.

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We really are quite the bunch… I personally didn’t give my character a personality or backstory just yet because I want to see how she plays out in certain situations. So far, she’s a bit of a coward but can definitely fight. I had pretty good luck on my rolls. We’ll see what happens next time though.

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