Saturday, July 5, 2014

TJ1 The Barrow of the Dwarven Queen

This is the very first adventured I DMed for D&D 5e, two days after D&D Basic V0.1 was published. Since I didn't really have time for preparation, I reused the Dungeon World adventure "The Barrow of the Dwarven Queen" from two years ago.

Note: The game was based on D&D Basic V0.1 and the monsters of the last playtest package by WotC (back from September 2013).

Cast of Characters:

  • Brim Smallcare, male halfling fighter (folk hero)
  • Haddun, male human rogue (criminal)
  • Maedric, human male cleric (soldier)
  • Tendrak Talis, human male fighter (soldier)
The adventure basically followed the plot of the Dungeon World game. The characters are on their way from Solacebury to Svarturvigi, the fortress of the dwarven king Rafnar the Black. They are guarding the caravan of Sorrenson, a merchant from Solacebury. He is as always accompanied by his beautiful daughter Ingdis. The main stretch of the journey takes them through the dangerous boreal forest of Skogurhörmullegur. Haddun is scouting about 450 feet ahead, while the other three adventurers stay with the main caravan. 

As expected, they are attacked by gnolls. It is a tough fight for Brim, Maedric and Tendrak. Only Maedric's healing words save them from certain death. Meanwhile, Haddun confronts a lone gnoll scout ahead of the others. They have a rather dynamic, somewhat ridiculous fight that doesn't end well for Haddun. Fortunately, he stabilizes by himself. The others would have found him too late otherwise.

When they return to the caravan, Sorrenson tells them that his daughter has been abducted by the vile gnolls. At first, Maedric is somewhat reluctant about saving her, seeing the larger danger to the caravan. But Sorresenson pleads with them and offers gold and healing potions. Mercenary as they are, they set out after a short rest to find the gnolls.

Brim successfully leads them to a barrow in the middle of the woods. The top of the barrow is guarded by two gnolls that are taken out by some smart tactical fighting on part of the group. Then they enter the barrow. The group remembers that this might be a barrow of a cursed queen of the first dwarves who were infamous for consorting with demons. Later, the mountain dwarves and hill dwarves rose up against their successors and defeated them. The queens were imprisoned in barrows such as this.

In the lower level of the barrow, the group finds itself confronted by the ghosts of two hill dwarves that were guarding the tomb. They rise up as their remains are disturbed. After a short battle, the adventurers the ghosts are defeated. Tendrak exchanges his armor against the plate mail worn by one of the dwarven guardians. It seems to be a fine set of armor indeed (plate mail +1).

Then they break into the inner sanctum of the barrow where they interrupt a dark ceremony of a gnoll priest. Apparently, he tries to use Ingdis for some nefarious purpose with the spirit of the dwarven queen. The adventurers attack and defeat the priest. Then they proceed to loot the tomb. Brim graps the chain shirt of the dwarven queen's remains. Maedric revives Ingdis, but fails to note something very important about her.

Then the group reports back to Sorrenson to collect their reward and finally see the caravan safely to Svarturvigi.

Note: The player of Tendrak Talis has posted a play report/review on his web site in German.

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