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Tabletop Stories- A New Adventure Begins

Illustration for article titled Tabletop Stories- A New Adventure Begins

After an extended break where some people who aren’t me finally took over the Game Master’s chair and let me be a player ( I was DM of two separate 5e D&D campaigns across three years) in both a galaxy far, far away and in a super hero GURPS game, I’m finally back in the DM chair and starting a brand new 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons game with my group of nearly twenty years!

Join me as I log here on TAY our adventures through a new campaign we hopefully take all the way to epic levels once again. In today’s post, I’ll explain the basic setting as best I can, describe our new morally dubious “heroes”, and log an account of the party’s humble beginnings.


The Setting

  • My homebrew is very loosely based on the world from Witcher. Meaning I’ve taken the basic map of the Northern Realms that came with my copy of Witcher 3 to use as our main world map. Some events from the lore of that world still hold true, most importantly the Conjunction of the Spheres event that brought monsters, undead, and most magic( formerly only the realm of beings such as demons and angels) and humans to this world. But that’s where similarities end. The world belonged before that event to the elves, dwarves and tieflings ( think a very demonic looking race of humanoids). All sorts of monsters that make no appearance in the Witcher world came through in the Conjunction, including D&D staples like Kobolds,Mimics,Beholders and Mind Flayers.

    It’s been ten years since the Conjunction. Humanity’s arrival has not been easy on the Continent. Just by being where the population of humans rivaling that of the natives first appeared, a major war was fought between the elves and humans. The humans managed to conquer one of the major elven city-states known as Nilfgaard, renaming it Vizima. The other elven city-states in the Northern realms such as Kaedwen sealed themselves off from the rest of the world afterwards, and no sign of them has been seen since. No one goes in, and no one comes out. Any elves seen today are free men with no allegiance or connection to the elven kingdoms, though many still join rebel groups dedicated to fighting the human incursion.

    War rages to this day between the humans and dwarves( Redanians), as well as the humans and tieflings( Temerrians). What keeps either side from overwhelming humanity is the humans’inclination for the arcane. It’s not impossible or unheard of for dwarves to develop arcane talents, but it is exceedingly rare and few masters exist. Tieflings find the gift much more often, but their history as a race makes them very reluctant to accept or develop such talents ( legend has it the race as a whole was once very different but had been tricked by a demon into servitude, changing their appearance to a more devilish form. The race supposedly fought and won their freedom, but the changes to their form forever remained). Humans though count a great many talented with arcane might in their ranks, and the other races have found this particularly troubling when engaging the humans in any sort of open conflict.

    The Party- We Started at Level 5

    Conner Crowley: Eldest of the Crowley brothers. A Paladin of Bane, god of conquest. He hopes for nothing more than to conquer in Bane’s name and bring glory to the Crowley name like his father before him. Exceedingly proud of his brother Cormac for his position in the church of Bane, but also loves the youngest brother Cillian for breaking with family tradition and forging his own path, setting Conner at odds with his father. All but disowned by his father General Crowley.

    Cormac Crowley: Middle of the Crowley brothers. Also a paladin of Bane, Cormac fought and won the right to be named Bane’s Inquisitor for the church. Cormac hopes to one day earn his father’s place in the Viziman military and conquer all in the name of Bane. Loves his brothers, but is determined to lead Cillian back to where Cormac feels he belongs, on the path to glory for Bane. All but disowned by his father General Crowley.

    Cillian Crowley: Youngest of the Crowley brothers. He broke with family tradition and took up the mantle of a bard, determined to travel the world singing songs and tasting the finest wines. He has been all but disowned by his father, a general in the military arm of Vizima and one of the few members belonging to the military council able to overrule the Emperor. Loves his family, but remains with his brothers primarily because they present a wellspring of inspiration for him to draw from for songwriting material. Currently plying his trade as a traveling merchant and working as a manager of sorts to his brothers, hiring them out as muscle to potential clients.

    Quinn Belmont: A tielfing warlock, owing his arcane ability to a pact he made with a powerful demon lord named Orcus in his youth. He turned on Orcus once he learned the truth of things, but has managed to retain the power from the deal. Orcus dogs his steps and haunts his dreams though, often shifting between threatening horrible deaths and tempting Quinn back sometimes in the span of seconds. Quinn is a lover of dice and cards, a player and collector of the most popular card game in the realm known as Gwent. His love of gambling has often brought him trouble though, and that as well as his trouble with Orcus has led him to hiring the Crowley brothers as ongoing protection.

    Dogon: A dragonborn sorcerer. Very few of the Dragonborn race were brought over during the Conjunction. Dogon, like many others, was almost immediately brought under the wing (heh) of a patron dragon, who were raised from beasthood and granted great intelligence when the event occurred. When his patron disappeared, Dogon set upon the road to find him, accepting odd jobs and eventually earning a small reputation as a mercenary.

    Tuk: the only known Goliath brought to this world by the Conjunction. His size and brute strength have served him well as a traveling combatant, and his isolation and loneliness have instilled in him a great rage he’s able to wield almost as well as any weapon, earning him a reputation in the Northern Realms as a barbarian.

    Cloud Mountain Temple: One of the few Tabaxi ( thin tall cat people comparable to the Khajiit from Elder Scrolls) brought through by the Conunction. He’s lived his life on the streets of the city, stealing and getting away with it being a way of life. This has forged him into a rogue of remarkable talent and earned him a nice steady reputation as a thief.

    The Beginnings

    Each of our heroes have found themselves in the port city of Novigrad, known as “the last free city in the North”. It is coveted greatly by every kingdom no matter allegiance due to its placement and mercantile wealth, but remains free because of barriers both physical and magical. The denizens of the city verge on violence and anarchy, their already widespread general paranoia threatening to boil over more and more every day into full-scale violence due to a mysterious magical plague ravaging the nonhuman races.

    Due to each having earned a reputation , each Player Character has been summoned by “the king”, though Novigrad boasts no titled ruler. Led through the dirty back alleys and cloistered streets of poorer side of town, the PCs are introduced to a fellow calling himself the King of Beggars. He offers them each a hefty reward, such as riches or information they seek, if each will travel to Eustice’s Necropolis, a fairly new underground cemetery built to house heroes of Bane just an hour’s walk from the city, which he believes is the source of the mysterious plague that threatens Novigrad. He also warns them that they are not the first he has hired to undertake this task, but has approached the party with the reward he has because every other party of adventurers or mercenaries he has hired has never returned.

    The PCs each accepted for their own reasons, and broke out together towards the necropolis, hoping strength in numbers proves to be true.

    Next time, I’ll tell of the party’s arrival at the necropolis, and the strange horrors they find within.

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