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D&D Next Actual Play: An Unlikely Trio

Cast of Characters:

  • Player Characters
    • Newton the Flask-Filler: Antisocial alchemist looking to secure his apprenticeship under the suspicious Dr. Mouldypage
    • Peyton of the Devil’s Causeway (Known in Skolos as Leofrick Liontear): Unscrupulous scoundrel fleeing a death sentence in Hollow Cove.
    • Frodrick Tenpenny Goodspell: Heartbroken holyman seeking to drown his sorrows in cheap liquor since the discovery of his love with the mayor’s son, Bartholomew Greatmoor V.
  • Non-Player Characters
    • Dr. Mouldypage: An alchemist and tenured fellow at one of Skolos’ revered scholarly institutions, having recently received a budgetary constraint.
    • Cordelia Mouldypage: An archer and swordhand in the city guard, former lover of Frodrick (among others) and currently bedding both Bartholomew and Kur.
    • Bartholomew Cumberland Goodhead Greatmoor V: Dr. Mouldypage’s other, less honorable, apprentice and close companion to Cordelia.
    • Kur Liontear: Peyton’s former criminal partner, now in Skolos running from the same setence he’d pinned on Peyton.

The First Part, or the Meeting of an Unlikely Trio

Within the walls of the Angry Weaver, all player characters are strangers to one another, though each with undiscovered links of unlikely coincidence. Frodrick is deep in his cups beside an out-of-place Newton nursing mild lemon water. Leofrick sits across from his hold friend, Kur, and an unfamiliar (to Leofrick) Cordelia. As it turns out, the Hollow Hand has tracked Kur here to Skolos and now both the ruffians are in trouble. But Kur has a plan to make some money fast and get out of town.

The plan? Some wizard’s department is low on funds and is forcing said wizard, one Dr. Mouldypage, to cut down to a single apprentice. The old goat’s already decided on Bartholomew, but he’s told Bart both kids get let go unless an artifact from beneath Skolos is found for him. And all of this overheard by an unnoticed Newton outside the professor’s door. With style becoming of his profession, Bartholomew delegated. And now the expedition’s organization is up to a hungry Kur (himself having been recommended by his oft bedmate Cordelia, the doctor’s daughter).

Newton recognizes Cordelia, but not the man she’s with. Didn’t he see her last arm in arm with that rat Bartholomew?

“She looks like my Cordelia!” wails the priest, “They all look like my Cordelia!”

So now that the responsibility’s on Kur’s shoulders and because (as he assured the apprentice) Kur gets things done, the desparate scoundrel is now assailing his ex-friend with dubiously backed promises of treasure and safety.

Leofrick leans in with a conspiratorial eye, “Come close, Kur.” Kur dips forward to listen. A swift thrust of the head, a shattered nose spurting blood.

“It is Cordelia!” shouts the priest and stumbles from his seat.

Kur is face down now and with takes Leofrick’s boot to his upturned ass. Leofrick spits after an ex-companion led away by his woman, “And don’t you fucking come to me again!”

The scholar bursts from the bar, “The scoundrel left a bag! And what’s this? A map? Some strange stone cube?” He glances to the other two. “I’ll be needing some help. For an expedition.”

Leofrick nods, “I keep half,” and snatches half the copper from the open bag.

Frodrick stands unsteady. “I only want Cordelia to feel as miserable as … as …” and trails off in deep and addled thought.

“And I want tenure. It’s settled then,” announces Newton, “we leave immediately.” A quick glance at the map, “Er, once we discover where to go.”

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Castle Ravenloft: A Very Young Crowd

★ ★ ★

Castle Ravenloft played with two- and four-year olds. Five to ten minutes.


Allow each player to pick a Hero (emphasize that the Heroes are blue). You should also play, both leading by example and because the kids . Place all Dungeon Tiles face down in a pile. Place the Start Tile face up in front of the players. Tell them to put their Heroes around the stairs. They will likely pick any spot on the Start Tile. This is okay.

Play passes from one player to the next.

  • Move: If it’s your turn, move your Hero a few squares, preferably to a tile with an unexplored edge. If it’s a kid’s turn, ask them to move their Hero, but don’t enforce any limitations.
  • Explore: Draw a Dungeon Tile and connect it to the board, arrow facing the connection. It’s tough to enforce much beyond this.
  • Fight: If there aren’t any monsters on the board, or if desired, grab a monster and place it on the new tile. The Hero can then move to the monster (or stay where they are) and roll their dice. If any other player acts to move their own Hero to attack and roll their own dice, allow it. If any pluses are rolled, the monster dies.

Victory: A turn or two in advance, tell the players that the game will be over soon. When the final enemy is placed, repeat to the players that they’re about to win. When the monster is defeated, be sure to give the game a dramatic closing while beginning to put the game away.

Defeat: The only defeat is for you, if the players get bored and run off without helping clean up.

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Ogre, Winter Exile

★ ★

Savage Outcast

There are few crimes among the mountain ogres; theft, bloodshed and cannibalism are all acceptable. Any ogre who manages to break taboo is caged and starved until the bleakest night of winter, when the cage is unceremoniously dumped before some dire beast’s lair.

Though the sentence is harsh, any survivors of exile are welcomed back after the first thaw. Some ogre leaders brag about their time in exile, a halcyon season spent in defiance of nature. Of these, a select few even bring back a companion: A barely-tamed dire beast.

Winter Exile Ogre Level 3 Solo brute
Large natural humanoid XP 750
HP 196; Bloodied 98 Initiative +2
AC 15, Fortitude 15, Reflex 14, Will 13 Perception +1
Speed 8
Resist 5 cold
Saving Throws +5; Action Points 2
Desperate Actions
The ogre does not roll initiative. It has set Initiative counts of 10 and 0, and it takes a turn on each count. It cannot delay or ready actions.
Standard Actions
Savage Fist ◆ At-Will
Attack: Melee 2 (one creature); +6 vs. AC
Hit: 1d10 + 3 damage, and target is pushed one square.
Flailing Fists ◆ At-Will
Effect: The ogre uses savage fist twice. If it hits the same target more than once, the target is dazed (save ends).
Stomp ◆ Encounter
Attack: Close burst 2 (3 when bloodied) (all creatures within burst); +4 vs. Reflex
Hit: 2d10 + 3 damage, and target is pushed 2 squares and is dazed (save ends).
Move Actions
Shake It Off ◆ At-Will
Effect: The ogre makes an immediate saving throw against a single condition.
Triggered Actions
Enraged Stomp ◆ Encounter
Trigger: The ogre is first bloodied.
Effect (Free Action): Stomp recharges and the ogre uses it immediately. Roll 1d6 for every square within the burst (including the ogre’s) which has an adjacent lower square. If the roll is 1-4, that square drops by five feet, becomes difficult terrain, and any creature in the square falls prone.
Skills Athletics +9, Endurance +9, Stealth +7
Str 17 (+4) Dex 12 (+2) Wis 10 (+1)
Con 17 (+4) Int 4 (–2) Cha 5 (–1)
Alignment chaotic evil Languages Giant
Equipment ragged furs

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I wanted to “mean up” the braxat from the 4e Dark Sun Creature Catalog. I’ve been tackling a few Dark Sun monsters and it’s tough! There’s a balance between humanoid and reptilian & chitinous that I still can’t reach.

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