Yesterday I kicked off my Beyond the Wall game (whether this will just be a one time thing or a sporadic get together, time will tell). I had eight players, only three of which had ever RPG’d before. I tried to make everything as easy as possible for everyone. I described the three classes (rogue, warrior, and mage) and gave the standard descriptions of “warriors run up to stuff and go stabby stabby; rogues go sneaky sneaky and skilly skilly and sometimes stabby stab; mages are all stuck up and intellectual and cast spelly spells that hurt shit.” With that intelligent description of everything I also let them know about multi-classing (which in BtW is SUPER simple) and then I asked them which of the classes each would like to play. Once that was determined I read off the playbooks (think 5e backgrounds) for each class and let the players choose.
Here’s the roster we ended up with:
Kevin- Rogue (The Woodsman background)
Sammie- Rogue (The Untested Rogue background)
Michelle- Warrior (The Nobleman’s Wild Daughter background)
Tyler- Warrior-rogue (The Cursed background- one I wrote up)
Kelly- Warrior (The Village Hero background)
Jamie- Warrior (Dwarf Adventurer background)
Raymond- Mage (Self-taught Mage background)
Katrina- Rogue (Forgotten Child background)
I totally dropped the ball and even forgot to mention my Exiled Monk class and playbook– oh well. I’m sure someone else will want to play or one of their characters will die.
With those decisions made we started rolling up our characters. I did deviate from how BtW wants the characters done and nixed the create the village stuff. I did this purposefully because A) we had a very short amount of time to play and creating the characters with 8 players was going to take a bit of time (took an hour and a half in total); B) the adventure I have written has the village frozen in time and covered in a thick mist- so they can create the village together once that bitch is free; and C) I’m not sure if we’ll get to really play again as all of us have busy fucking schedules… so if it’s a one off- no point in creating the village.
I opened with the group being out in the wilderness doing a hunt. I asked Kevin what they were hunting, as he was the woodsman- he said “Boar.” Michelle said, “Oh that’s perfect! I saved someone from a boar attack and that’s how I made my name in the village!” So that was a cool little thing right there- perfectly random, but it enhanced everyone’s experience right there.
So the group had a successful hunt (through narration) and went to bed. When the woke in the AM there was a thick fog obscuring everything further than 10′ away. The group did some thinking and questioning about the fog, but decided it would be best to head to the village. They spend half a day walking back to the village. When they got to the outskirts they realized that they heard no sounds- no villagers, no animals, no tools, etc. The group took a few more steps into the village and could make out three silhouettes about 10′ away. Kevin, Katrina, Sammy, and Tyler all stealthed up to take a look while Raymond did Sense Magic in the area.
The rogues came up on the two shapes and saw it was the local town herbalist and her son, completely still as if frozen in time. It looked like they were playing a game- the son was running from his mother, looking back at her with a smile on his face… The herbalist’s face showing adoration for her child- frozen and unmoving.
Kelly went into the nearest building, which happened to be the blacksmith. He was standing over his anvil hammering on a horseshoe. The shoe completely cold- small embers that flew from the shoe after the hammer struck frozen in mid-air, small little bits of ash and dust.
The group met back up and divulged their findings to one another. The group decided to head further into the town and heard a humming in the distance. Someone in the party said, “Does this town have a local witch?” Another player said, “Who do you think is singing…?” So the group went to investigate the singing and went to the eastern outskirts of the village, and the rickety shack of Druscilla- the village’s witch.
Druscilla was sitting on her porch, stroking her fat black cat, and watched the group approach. “Well I see not ALL the village idiots were frozen in this fog.” Michelle puffed up at once, “what do you mean idiots.” “Those weak enough to succumb to this magic.” Another player called out, “Is that why you’re not affected?” Druscilla merely shurgged.
The group began asking her questions about what caused this fog and how to remove it. Druscilla snorted deeply and coughed a big snot ball on to the porch and began playing in it with her long, broken big toe nail. “Hrm… Let’s see- this is fae magic. Something has angered the fae and it won’t go away until solved.”
“What do we do? Where do we go?”
Druscilla made an incision on her forearm and let the blood drip into her snot ball and then continued toeing it, “You must find the prophet of the swamp- two days travel to the south of here… He’ll have answers for you. Look for the giant weeping willow where the hang virgins. That’s where you’ll find him.”
The group gathered up their stuff and headed south.
Along the way they were ambushed by five bullywugs.
Three threw slings at the players, when they charged in, two others appeared from under the peat and began pelting the PC’s with slings as well. This was a fun fight and several of the players took pretty good damage. Both Michelle and Kelly (I think) rolled natural 20’s and were very excited to cleave the shit out of the bullywugs. Michelle was on her horse and had charged one- piercing it through the eye, lifting it off the ground, and taking it with her and she maneuvered to make another charge.
After the fight the group decided to make camp. That night Kelly was visited by a woman who was coming out of a dead tree stump. Her flesh looked like wood, and she had branches and vines for hair.
The dryad thanked Kelly for their help in chasing off (or killing) the Bullywugs, as they have been hunting the animals in the area. For their help, the dryad gave Kelly a bag of eight Good Berries (restores 1 HP when eaten). She then disappeared back into her log.
That morning Kelly told the group what happened and they decided to move on. After a few more hours of walking, the group found the weeping willow in the distance.
The group carefully approached it, scouting out around them. Sitting in a thick branch was a monkey juggling three stones in one hand… He was making deep guttural sounds. Next to his neck on each side were two flaccid stalks that both hung sadly onto his chest. One of the party members cleared their throat, “Ummm. Hello? Are you the prophet of the swamp?”
“Indeed I am the prophet of the swamp… What do you want?” Aside: In a split moment decision I decided to give the three-headed monkey the voice of Benecio Del Toro when he had a gun in his head in Sin City. I don’t know why, but the players dug it and I had fun giving a small chimp a really deep, gravely voice.
There was a quick role-playing part here and the group found out that a evil bastard named Cy’nar came and stole the prophet’s other heads and now he’s lonely and that’s why the fog appeared… and it won’t lift until his friends are with him again. The group asked where Cy’nar was and he told them he was to distraught to know or care. Go check with the Swamp Mistress and she’ll guide you. She’s just a mile to the west.
The group asked for help for getting his heads back and he gave them the three stones he was juggling, with no explanation and the group moved on.
The group walked for a short time and then heard a strange inhuman scream and several shouts. The group crept on on the disturbance and saw three figures pulling a large bag and shouting, “You’re lucky Cy’nar wants you alive you freak! Otherwise I’d skin you and wear you as a hat.” Several of the rogues attempted to sneak up on the figures, but Katrina failed- instead sloshing loudly in the swamp water.
They could see three bandits clearly and a figure (a fourth) obscured by the fog in the distance. The men were wearing black leather armor, had swords and bows, and were wearing leatherface type masks. Both Sammie and Katrina shouted at the men, telling them to surrender or die (Sammie failed, and Katrina succeeded). I rolled an opposing roll for the men, giving them negatives because of the sheer number of PC’s VS them. They failed and immediately surrendered. The whole group cheered (this was really cool- because it was minor, but for them it was a celebration- which makes it fucking awesome).
The group went back to the bag and opened it up, figuring the Swamp Mistress was within. What popped out was not what they expected.
The mistress thanked them and the group had a quick talk about why Cy’nar would want her (and all the Mistress said was it was probably because she knew exactly where he was, when everyone else didn’t). So the Mistress sang a song and teleported the group to the outside of Cy’nar’s lair.
This is where we left off for the night. Everyone had a great time and got a feel for RPGing. Hopefully we’ll play again soon.
This adventure was fun to write and fun to run. I still have the whole dungeon created and ready to go. I admit that this adventure was much more linear than I normally do, but I had a very short amount of time to play and I was treating this as if we were never going to get to play again and this was my shot to show 5 people what RPGing was like. I think I succeeded as everyone told me that it was a ton of fun… so we’ll see if it every happens again:)