D&D West Marches 001 - Rabbit massacre turns deadly once the undead show up

They thought there was only one of them. They were wrong.

It's almost noon and the neighbors haven't removed their fucking clothes from the laundry machine so I guess I have to wear dirty socks like I'm some kind of peasant or something.

In the far off land of MYSTERIOUS UNTAMED CONTINENT, a young handsome bard by the assumed name of Bridges Rhinestone Jr. finds himself looking for adventure and mad hunnies, outside of some bar or something, I'm not sure of the specifics, but apparently it's called The Chilling Yeti, waiting for other adventurers who are interested in locating a not-too-far off village and surveying it for potential expansion.

Everyone else shows up and briefly discuses their plan: Let's go here. And they go. There's not much discussion in the way of provisions or, perhaps potions, or really anything beyond "we go now", but Bridges Rhinestone Jr. was never a stickler for details, well actually he is, but there was adventure to have and this would be his first, so he sets out with his ragtag band of adventurers that he's never met and sincerely hopes aren't weird.

The party is:

Bridges Rhinestone Jr, Human, Lore Bard(Hey, that's me!)
Vymphala Hotai, Dragonborn, Devotion Paladin
James Haft, Human, Rogue/Monk
Siobhan Blackwood, Half-Drow. Warlock
Maxillian, Human, Because First Names Are Cool Wizard
Nebun, Human Rogue

The first day of the trek was largely uneventful as the day drew to a close. One of the party members had begun to forage for food in this forest to sate the party's hunger. What proceeded to follow was a near systematic extermination of a localized cluster of woodland creatures that can only be described as cold, calculated precision. No misses, no survivors, no mercy. Bridges is new to the scene so watching this acrobatic display of death was as impressive as it was horrifying. At least, at the very least, Bridges thought to himself, this guy was dependable in a fight. Or maybe he's just really fucking good at killing rabbits.

Before long it was night, and the party had enough critter meat to sustain a small village for a couple of days, and they devised a watch order to keep the party safe during the night. In the end, aside from an additional murdered rabbit, they escape the night unscathed and continue on their journey the following morning.

Eventually, after two days of travel, we arrive at a what we originally thought to be the ruins of a small village, but it actually ended up being the ruins of a decently sized farming city. Siobhan had organized this mission in the hopes of building their own home and perhaps even a lodge here after analyzing and defeating any wayward creatures that threaten that operation, but as the party investigated, they determined that the city was old, rotten, moldy, decrepit and has seemingly been so for hundreds, possibly even thousands of years. That's when one eagle eyed scout noticed something unexpected: Off to the opposite side of the city was a skeletal dog rummaging around with some sort of device clinched in its teeth.

The party inspected from afar, magically conjuring a spyglass to get a better look at it, and after conversing about what to do with the rest of the party, they began to follow this skeletal dog. Eventually, after 4 hours of stealthily following behind, the dog walked over to a bush and simply proceeded downwards into what was apparently an opening.

Bridges was not so hot on the idea of going deeper into the hole and into a cave that, since he typically avoids the kind of places that skeletons like to go to. And also the fact that he's never even seen a skeleton, a skeleton dog, or the inside of a cave before. But this was the mission and he was not afraid. So they went in.

What at first appeared to be a typical cave, in that it fit all of the descriptions you would normally hear of a cave, like "dark, dirty, dingy, wet, cold, probably evil, definitely evil". Immediately in front of them were skeletons against a cave wall. While Bridges was new, he was certainly not stupid, especially after witnessing the first skeleton he's ever seen, but the party's Paladin was too quick, and so she had used her Paladiny Magicy to determine if there were in fact any animated skellingtons amongst them. And, as it would turn out, there were. Who knew?

After a quick ambush of the skeletons with the Dragonborn Paladin's breath weapon, she inadvertently triggered a trap, causing zombies to fall from a cage in the sky. She was aware of their presence from her magic abilty, and so none of the party were surprised. After a quick round of battle and no one being particularly harmed, Bridges managed to land some good hits with his rapier against a zombie, which made him feel really good.

Proceeding inward the party found a waterfall, with the water streaming in from somewhere and falling down into a ravine of sorts. Off in the distance the Warlock, Siobhan, noticed a strange device planted in the ground, like a glowing blue sigil. The party determined that it was probably a pressure plate, but since it was far away and down at the base of the waterfall, they decided to avoid that area for now. After inspecting it for a little bit and determining it to be just water, and apparently safe, the party tried to follow it to see if they could find a way around dropping 30 feet down to where the waterfall went. It wasn't a fast stream, so it was safe to walk in.

But while the water was safe, the ambush that was laid before them was not, and so the party had to deal with a surprise-go-fuck-yourself by 2 very large, very angry, very spear-having fishmen. The Paladin, Vymphala, was a bit isolated as she crossed the water already but the rest of the party did not, because crossing the water and isolating yourself is a bad idea.

Battle was afoot, or afish in this circumstance, and the Paladin had to deal with being banged up in the fray. After a couple of rounds, and a paladin nuking the every loving god out of one of the fishguys with a Smite, the battle was over. The party took a short rest to regain their composure(And health) before setting off deeper into the cave system.

Editor's note: We played this game on a Roll20 game that was set up by a premium member, which meant the DM had access to dynamic lighting. So for the characters, while in the cave, all we saw was darkness, unless there was a light source nearby. Additionally, we couldn't see what other characters saw unless we were directly next to them and capable of actually seeing it, which meant if characters separated, we would have no idea what was happening... which brings us to the next and final segment of the game.

It's dark, dank, dangerous, filled with evil, and the party still hadn't seen signs of the skeleton dog. As they proceed to what looked to be a gap which could be pressed through, the party noticed inside of this gap was a Necromancer and several of his minions, lowly skeletons and zombies, nothing to really be afraid of or concerned with. The party also heard, coming from the water to their north, splashing sounds. So, in order to get the drop on the foes beyond this gap that they could pass through, one of the party cast Silence, which mutes any sound coming to or from that area, deafening any creatures within. It also makes casting spells that require verbal components impossible, locking down the necromancer in the process.

Coming from their north, the party saw a hulking mass of flesh, towering above them and lumbering forward, right as the Paladin and a couple of other party members rushed in to surprise the necromancer. Bridges Rhinestone Jr. was one of the 3 who stayed behind to fight this giant fucking mass of death, hopefully protecting his allies from being flanked by it. As for what happened to the other group, Bridges didn't have a clue. The cave was dark, the area was silenced by magic which meant he could not see nor help his allies in need, but was more occupied with what was in front of himself to really do anything for them at the moment.

Bridges, Siobhan, and Maxillian had to deal with this Flesh Golem before it dealt with them, and delt they did, eventually. What transpired was nothing short of a game of cat and mouse as the group tried to dance around the size of the creature, without being able to reasonably damage it with melee attacks due to being all mostly weak casters. Eventually Bridges managed to get off a lucky Dissonant Whispers and turn the creature away, causing them to be able to breathe for a minute.

A lull in the battle caused Bridges to manage to get himself within range of his other friends, and in doing so managed to see that this necromancer had quite a range of backup working for him in the form of huge skeleton minotaurs. Seeing this, Bridges cast Heat Metal on the weapon of one, hoping to be able to save his comrades, or at least help, and then was back in battle with the golem.

Eventually, after taking a nasty hit, the battle was resolved, and the parties converged on each other, chasing down the one enemy still remaining: The Necromancer. Encircled by nearly the entire party, the Necromancer made a surprisingly good display of power by Magic Missiling everyone in the face, almost knocking out a couple of the party. But they held strong and eventually hit the necromancer, and eventually killed him.

And that was the end of our first adventure. The Bard got some good loot, the Wizard got a spellbook out of the Necromancer, the Warlock is planning on building a road to the ruins aboveground. And we all came out of it alive and well, and definitely did not forget about the skeleton dog who is definitely not out there killing people as we speak. Nope. Not at all.

My name is Ryan. I like to play video games and Dungeons and Dragons and all kinds of other cool stuff. I also like to write. This is my website, it's nothing special, but I write about topics from time to time that probably make no sense. But if you think they do make sense, then hang around and check out some other articles. My friends call them "blogs" but goddamnit I've got a URL and everything, so they're "articles".

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