I am new to D&D. My first ever character was a rogue tiefling who couldn’t steal a copper piece if her life depended on it. I love playing druids but I recently wanted to try and play different classes to see how they feel. So far I prefer barbarians and druids as they’re super simple to use.
about a year ago today, a DM of ours wanted to revive her old campaign to do a prequel of said campaign. We were all going to play new characters about 200 years prior to the campaign my rogue and ranger were in. We had 2 newbie players who were great friends, one was even streaming as much of the campaign as his internet would allow.
here’s the party:
Baron: a sassy scottish artificer with a railgun and, later on, a mechanical cobra. played by an old friend of mine who’s fantastic at RP
Jayde Lycanis: a very nice, kind of naive, human paladin of the Raven Queen. played by the newbie streamer.
Drogar/Leon: a dwarf samurai with an INT lower than 10 and a disguised elf rogue who’s literally Leon Kennedy. played by the other newbie player who left after the mandatory underdark chapter.
Nephie/Rolrith: 1 tiefling sorcerer (didn’t last very long) and 1 human barbarian. played by another friend who not only min/maxes but is also the resident edgelord.
Galabor/Soli: an aged blue dragonborn barbarian with a wife and son. played by me and the focus of this story.
Fredas: a ranger added to the last chapter of the campaign. played by a friend of the DM who’s actually really good at roleplay as well!
Galabor was probably the bestest, strongest, wonderfulest friend a 7 year old could ever have. He’s been in my life from 7 to my current, 26, year old self. Starting out as a plastic toy from a coin operated bauble machine to a giant kaiju dragon, to being a badass barbarian dad. When the campaign was planned, I told the DM and the rest of the party that I wanted to play a character who was very special to me. My first ever barbarian, based on Conan, was to be my age old friend; Galabor the purple dragon. Obviously he had to be blue but he was aged to a nice amethyst color. Anyway let’s get started!
We went on many adventures with these characters. Our first was clearing a forest and a mithril mine of fungus monsters and ankegs which Jayde named “Ground Bugs”. It became a funny trope of ours. Fighting spiders? “Web Bugs”. Is that an underdark lurker? “Blind Ground Bugs.” We managed to kill the fungus creatures and seal a fiendish portal. Thankfully we found some mithril veins and even some processed ingots! Both Jayde and Galabor’s were upgraded to mithril after that.
Our 2nd adventure took us on a high sea adventure where Galabor’s sailor background helped us get to our destination faster. We swam with mermaids who were plagued with some sort of madness style corruption which led to us swimming deep into a trench to get rid of the source. Because of marine biology on “shark senses 101” we were kind of forced to fight a giant shark…much to our artificer’s annoyance. In the end we fought 2 hags, dark clones of each other, and operated a submarine that was quite alien to us. Turns out our campaign setting was 2-3 tiny continent clusters far, far off from the Sword Coast.
another adventure took us to the north-western lands of our campaign setting, we had run into some Tiamat cultists who had teleported in from the Sword Coast, which shook Galabor to the core. He has no understanding of religion and their followers; so to see people willingly throw away their lives for a greedy chromatic dragon god who doesn’t care about anything but herself. It bothered him to no end. Not only that, because he’s a chromatic dragonborn- he feared that Tiamat could take control over him at any time and that his heritage meant that he himself had the potential of being a monster.
We did learn of a green dragon poisoning the area, so we were recommended to seek aid from a copper dragon. Best way to get them to help? Bring a gift offering from nearby dwarves to maintain peace treaties. It was a blast going through their lair! Copper dragons make crazy lairs that are mostly pranks for their amusement. There was a pit full of pillows, a ramp covered in oil, and a potion riddle! Galabor had shrunk to the size of a dwarf because of this riddle and I’ll happily admit that it was the best moment of that entire quest as, sometimes, failures make things so much more fun.
Our dragon friend did help us bring the green down after we had fought it in its newly dug lair. By the way folks, NEVER send your barbarian first when entering the lair of a dragon. The roleplay doesn’t go well. But we did manage to beat the tar out of it before finally killing it in the forest outside. While assisting dwarves and dragons took what they wanted from the loot pile, we took paintings from the Sword Coast and one in particular from a nearby Japanese inspired island.
The last adventure including Nephie didn’t end well. Her player decided that she was to be replaced by a fighter character. All because she tried to explain ice to an ice giant chieftain which got ALL of us upset and nervous. Can’t really blame the player, though, we all fail to take social cues and hints when in the heat of gameplay. In any case, we sailed into the frozen ocean to the far north to find a tower on the back of a possessed dragon turtle where a storm giant lived. We found the fighter in the first room and immediately knew there was a potential problem with her chosen personality, That’ll be explained soon.
There was trial room after trial room just to get to the final boss of the tower. All of us dreaded that this fight mostly because it’s an eldritch horror controlling a storm giant and absorbing power from fiends and celestials. All those poor, poor, dead unicorns. Once we had fought the horror and freed the giant, the tower started to hum with power as it was about to go nuclear. Thankfully we all got teleported back home only to find that there was some time displacement due to dimension warping. All of us were shocked to find that we were gone for 3 MONTHS! Galabor’s son had a birthday in the time that he had been gone!
Now…this adventure left a mark on Galabor not only mentally but also physically and emotionally. A young girl came out of a fantasy-Japanese ink painting in order to find help to save her grandfather. The painting was a wormhole to an island based on mythologic, Nippon. A side note here; Galabor and all dragonborn in this campaign setting’s history is that a devastating tidal wave annihilated the island they lived on, causing many refugee dragonborn to move to this island or the 2 primary continents we adventured between. So for the big guy to see so many of his kind walking around, and to see familiar faces, got him to open a little more. He gladly talked to NPCs, did introductions, and even did things on his own. I’ll admit, I’m not the best roleplayer but I really do try to change that. This arch was my best attempt at it.
During our ventures in this land, dubbed Shirando, we learned 2 things. 1: this little girl’s grandfather was being held captive by a tyrannical monster called the Jade Emperor. 2: there used to be a grand palace where the bay is now but it had sunk with the de facto leader of the dragonborn called the Iron Emperor still inside. We discovered that he was a mighty samurai who’s sword could summon tsunamis that helped him defend Shirando in the past. I have to say, I did enjoy this adventure even though it was mostly the DM making godzilla references because they knew i love giant monster movies. This whole arch was made just for my character but, as i mentioned with the fighter problem, it never felt like it.
Throughout the journey between cities here, this little girl came with us with Galabor keeping her by his side the entire time. He loved kids and wanted nothing more than to help this girl find her grandfather. Even if the rest of the party wanted to go home or do other things. We also discovered that Galabor was starting to develop wings! It was a choice me and the DM made together. The original had wings, Unearthed Arcana has wings as a feat, so why not?
Nearing the end we swam to the tomb. This entire place was awful. Corpses of simple workers dotted the place, clay soldiers like one would see in a Chinese Emperor’s tomb stood guard. Waiting for the day to fight for their leader. Jayde had pointed out that each soldier had evil necromantic energy all around them, it was confirmed after some animated and attacked us, thus revealing that the souls of these innocent people were placed inside the soldiers. After dodging some traps, the party came across a ritual room. There’s some things you learn the hard way in D&D. That day me and my character learned what one has to do to become a lich.
Scattered all over the floor were the tiny skeletons of infant dragonborn along with smashed eggshells of more dragonborn. Tossed to the ground like nothing more than garbage. There were more than enough times where I had to mute myself in the call to cry while Galabor, numb and broken, collected the remains of these innocent children. This encounter shook all of us but we had to keep going. He carried those remains with him through the ENTIRE dungeon, not saying a single word either. Baron’s player sassed and complained but I didn’t listen. It’s 100% something my character would do. Sometimes a trap or a clay soldier or even a mimic would spring up to attack us and due to lucky dice rolls, the big guy would nuke them with one rage filled swing.
Finally the party found the Iron Emperor. A grey dragonborn samurai turned into a dishonored, corrupted, lich. To this day, I think back on that confrontation and smile. As at that moment, every negative feeling me and Galabor were feeling bubbled to the surface before exploding out. For the first time in my roleplaying D&D carrier (not long at all), I voiced Galabor’s pained rage and cussed out a LICH to the FACE.
With each pause there was the description of both the Iron Emperor and the pained barbarian doing a godzilla style power up before initiative was rolled. Baron and Leon danced around shooting at this undead warrior, our fighter made the mistake of enlarging themself in a cramped room buried in the ocean and swinging a giant mace like there wasn’t a roof in the first place, and Galabor charged the Emperor head long regardless of danger with Jayde not far behind using her mithril whip to keep him within reach.
Remember when I said this arch didn’t feel like it was made for my character when It was meant to? It’s mostly because the fighter burned all their resources in each turn to kill him, and in turn the lich wanted nothing more than to kill our paladin Jayde and Baron the artificer. Galabor got some hits in and the Emperor did do a cool godzilla-like breath attack to his chest, but that was it really. I don’t remember how long the fight was; it felt like days went by when we were in combat, don’t even remember who got the killing blow but we destroyed him regardless! Turns out his phylactery was the fang of a giant gorilla. Boy does that sound familiar.
His sword was a Japanese greatsword whose name escapes me right now but it’s translated to “Storm Caller”. One could summon an insane tsunami that was 300ft long, 300ft tall, and 50ft thick. It was madness and Galabor only used that trick 3 times as it was quite devastating. Though this sword belonged to a monster, he had every intention to put it to good use.
One such use was to fight the Jade Emperor. This green tyrant was nothing more than an overweight, 8 headed, hydra that looked like he was made of pure jade. Just when combat started, Galabor downed an enlargement potion causing him to grow to equal size with the Jade Emperor. This caused his wings to burst from his back in a gorey display. Man was that cool. Unfortunately our friend playing Leon struggled so much during this fight with all the lair actions turning the floor into slippery mud. Jayde got the unfortunate magic based effect that essentially casted Banishment on her…more than once if I remember correctly. Baron was a feral tiefling so he could fly and shoot his guns whenever he wished. The fighter gave a flanking advantage throughout combat and even got the final blow.
Galabor’s official, final, adventure was to a desert in an alternate dimension. Throughout it all, the fighter whined and complained and cussed out Baron because it was his goddess who transported us there. To be clear, Baron worshipped Ioun and all of his inventions were made in her name. She had tasked us with dealing with an intrusion in her “simulation”. creatures from space had shown up and got stuck in this desert.
During one of our long rests, Galabor finally snapped. This was the first time that there was surprise PVP in any of the campaigns. Barbarian who’s done with this awful attitude vs a fighter who keeps screaming about how much they’re angry at Baron but not willing to be an adult about it. The fight did get interrupted by Jayde trying to be the voice of reason, also by some undead T-rexes that randomly showed up. Mostly the fight ended because the fighter’s dice weren’t rolling in their favor. Two misses and they gave up. At least now they stopped complaining while Galabor was around but, because they chose tricks that are not honorable whatsoever in that fight, he decided to just stop helping her with anything. No more advantage on flanking, no healing potion, no assistance with ability checks. In his eyes, she had betrayed him.
Back to focus, these alien creatures were from the game Starfinder and they had a full crew. They crash landed in this desert, thus disrupting Ioun’s simulation. Their main muscle and the Starfinder equivalent of a “rogue” were tasked with finding a fuel source but it caused both of them to go so mad that they murdered one of their own to go after what they had found. It was an artifact entombed with a plague raddled priestess.
It took a part of tired adventurers who had tension between each other to beat this priestess where two aliens armed with laser weapons and plasma weapons had failed. Just let that one sink in.
That adventure was Galabor’s final one with the party. He wanted to go home and stay with his wife and son. He wanted to work on his brand new farm with his brand new dog and livestock. Occasionally there’d be a random jug of milk, a bundle of apples, some freshly made cheese, or some eggs popping out of a bag of holding linked between everyone in the group. He cared about the others still and wanted nothing more than for them to be safe.
Though he did show up from time to time after this quest, his true final farewell for all of us was the “wedding session”. Jayde the character was marrying the love of her life, a very kind bard named Diane. Everyone in the party from past to present was invited. Baron was marrying them together, Leon had misunderstood that it’s a wedding and snuck around thinking he had to assassinate someone (thankfully he didn’t), the fighter left a present and went home, and Galabor was the best man for Jayde. It was beautiful to say the least, the big guy even cooked a blessed pig, polynesian style so it was buried in the ground with red hot stones and seasonings. It had been fattened up just for this occasion. After that he simply walked away after giving them all a sad farewell.
–The heroic ending–
The end of the campaign was actually a shift to the premade module; Rise of Tiamat. I played a tortle named Soli who was a cleric of Bahamut. Because this was set in the Sword Coast, Galabor had opted to stay behind in the main campaign setting. Giving everyone lovingly crushing hugs and tearful goodbyes as they were teleported over. Little did we know; this would officially be the LAST time anyone in our party would ever see Galabor again.
We went through the module a little faster than I believe most people would, as the DM wanted to end this campaign so she could start GMing Call of Cthulhu soon. The last fight with Tiamat was terrifyingly stressful with Soli going down, using Divine Intervention as retaliation, and Rolrith being a living blender to cut down the 5 headed dragon. Once we got out of the mountain lair, we were told that the only person who could take us home, the same person who got us to this land, had died in the big fight between friendly giants and cultist dragons.
In short: the DM trapped us there and Galabor would’ve been permanently trapped as well.
The party didn’t mind this as Jayde had her wife and their entertainment caravan to tour this brand new land. Baron ascended to become the Aspect of Creation, a god essentially. Rolrith just simply disappeared to answer the call of another war god. Soli became an honorable dragon by being an ambassador for metallics and the temple of Bahamut. We did have a ranger as well who was Soli’s friend. He went on more adventures and military based missions for a few more years.
Meanwhile back in the old world; the entire campaign had hints and clues that Vecna was on the rise. Sure enough the legendary war that was mentioned in the first campaign’s history, and was only a few short years away in the 2nd campaign, erupted across this land. Now, Galabor was present for this. He had adopted the girl from Shirando as his own daughter and had a lovely farm to maintain. When he heard that a war was rampaging throughout the country, he did what he had to do.
Using that Japanese ink painting he managed to get as many people out of harm’s way as possible. Leaving just himself, his wife, and his children left to go through. Galabor never went through. As the war front pushed closer and closer to their town; smoke billowing in the distance, he held his family close with sorrowful tears in their eyes.
His family pleaded for him to come with them but he just couldn’t stand the thought of running away from this. The barbarian handed his son his retired mithril greatsword, gave his new daughter the collar of their guard dog, and gave his wife a kiss that had so much emotion that it’s really hard for me to explain really. They all knew what would happen if he joined the war front but there was no talking him out of it.
As soon as the family went through the painting, Galabor destroyed it with his storm caller. Then turned and charged to join the fight. Fun fact that the DM never got the chance to add in the main story: Galabor shares a bond with storms similar to Moana and her bond with the ocean. When he rages, he becomes a walking thunder storm and, narratively, a lightning storm takes over the sky. The lightning would never hurt him, as they were old friends.
The army’s facing off against undead and all kinds of horrors one would expect from Vecna. I don’t think either side were expecting a lvl20 storm herald barbarian charging headlong into the field with a lightning storm smiting any hostile creature that got too close to surprising him. It was almost like a scene from a movie but, Galabor didn’t do this unscathed. He got torn up and beaten around just as much as he tore them up.
After so much fighting and destruction he was all but spent with his sword feeling heavy in his hands. One of the enemy’s better fighters finally stepped forward to take him on. If they beat Galabor, then their side would’ve won. If Galabor beat them, then their side would just retreat and plan.
By this time; Galabor was thoroughly exhausted and he was face to face with an armored warrior with fresh health and spells. The DM and I both knew one thing about Galabor’s ending. He’d never stop fighting. The only thing that’d stop him is when his body gave out. His soul wanted to continue but one’s body can only go so far.
This clash proved it as he was missing more than he was hitting but when he DID hit, it was devastating for the enemy. Eventually, Galabor was on his knee trying to recover after a particularly hard hit. His opponent rose his sword to end it all, only to be stopped by a sourceless gunshot that knocked his weapon away. This confusion was all the dragonborn needed to thrust his sword forward. Running his foe through and killing him in a blinding explosion of light and electricity.
As the smoke started to clear, Galabor came shuffling out with his sword dragging through the crushed dirt. Undead army already retreating behind him. With a bloodied smile, he dropped to his knees among the corpses of all his opponents. Cradling himself with his limp, tattered, wings while pulling his sword to rest on his lap.
You could almost hear his heartbeat slowing more and more until it gave one final, relieved, beat. The storm above had since stopped lightning striking the ground. Instead it began to rain. Both man and storm had just lost a great friend that day. The End.
The worst part about this entire thing is that this early years campaign came after an already established one so his valiant efforts will never be known outside of our group. Personally I thought it was the perfect end for him as he has been in my life for so long that it felt right to have this be how it goes. If I can offer any advice, though, using a character from early years is probably the best way for people to work on breaking out of their shyness shell. You don’t have to kill them, obviously, but having something so familiar and personal works so much better.
This has been Hellhounds20, HH for short, pouring a lot of text into a post about a dragonborn from early years. Stay safe and game on!