NARRATOR: As a parent there is nothing more exciting than being able to share your hobbies with your children. This is the story of my daughter, Katie’s first game of Dungeons and Dragons. We started our journey like any game of D&D, making characters. I had taken the liberty of rolling a character for her: Katie, the mighty paladin that was well rounded with reasonable stats and an interesting backstory. But because my daughter is more stubborn than I am, she wanted to make her own character because mine was, quote unquote, “lame.”
Enter Selana, Bard and Elven Princess. Beautiful. Intelligent. Incredibly weak and not dexterous at all. In fact, other than high charisma and an okay intelligence stat, she was almost a potato. But that doesn’t matter. Katie beamed with pride as she looked at her character sheet.
And so we began.
DM: Princess Selana walked down the hard packed dirt road toward the town of Dinmoor. Her hood was pulled high over her head to conceal her pointed ears and platinum hair. Dinmoor was a small but wealthy mining town at the base of the Carrus mountains. Wagons laden with gold and precious gems used to travel the road Selana walked, but a wagon hasn’t been seen in months.
“You’re approaching the outskirts of the town. There are a few small wooden buildings lining the town’s main road. You don’t see any people, animals, or activity at all. Do you want to maybe sneak into the town to look around?”
PRINCESS SELANA: No.
DM: So you just want to walk down the middle of the road?
PRINCESS SELANA: Yeah.
NARRATOR: Things were going great.
DM: The tavern door slams open with a crash!
PRINCESS SELANA: Is anyone there?
DM: No answer. It must have just been the wind.
PRINCESS SELANA: I want to investigate!
DM: As you enter the tavern the sound of buzzing fills your ears. The tavern is swarming with flies. Dark clouds of flies flit from table to table alighting on rotten, half eaten meals. Barely audible over the thunderous buzzing you hear what sounds like pots and pans being thrown around.
PRINCESS SELANA: I draw my sword and go toward the sound.
DM: The door to the kitchen is cracked, allowing you just enough space to peer through without being seen. A small goblin is muttering to himself as he throws pots and pans into a large burlap sack.
BAGLE: Metal, metal, metal! Bagle get the metal. Always, Bagle never Snagle.
DM: Bagle hefts the sack full of pots and pans over his shoulder; he strains underneath its weight and shuffles to the backdoor that leads outside.
PRINCESS SELANA: I follow him. Quietly!
DM: Oof. You accidentally kick a cutting board that Bagle had left on the floorboards. It slams against the wall with a thwack! But . . .
Bagle doesn’t hear anything except the banging of pots and pans in his sack.
PRINCESS SELANA: Phew! What is he doing now?
DM: Bagle walks up to a heavy minecart on metal rails sitting at the edge of the forest. You guess that the miners would get food delivered from the tavern to the mine this way. He braces himself against the cart and heaves with all of his tiny goblin body. The cartwheels crawl forward with the high pitch squeal of neglect.
PRINCESS SELANA: I’ll hang back and keep following him.
DM: The path through the forest is straight and narrow. Sweat is streaming down Bagle’s back staining his already ragged clothes. He nearly stumbles and falls; you can see his legs are shaking, threatening to give out at any second.
PRINCESS SELANA: Aww
DM: The path widens to a large clearing. There are a few small wooden buildings and rows of tents that make up the mining outpost. The arched entrance of the mine is cut into the side of the black slate mountain. On the edge of exhaustion, Bagle pushes forward, his destination within sight. He reaches the entrance of the mine, and falls to the ground bathed in sweat, chest heaving, completely exhausted. Heavy footsteps echo from the dark interior of the mine. BOOM. BOOM. BOOM!
PRINCESS SELANA: I hide behind a tent!
DM: A massive ogre emerges from the darkness. His hideous face twists into a sneer as he looks down at the nearly unconscious Bagle.
MORG: Weak. Tiny. Pathetic.
DM: Spittle flies out of his mouth as he speaks.
MORG: You supposed to get metal fast. You get metal slow. Morg gets to punish you.
DM: Morg kicks Bagle in the side savagely and with enough force to send Bagle flying through the air to land in a heap of limbs and agony.
BAGLE: (Whimpering and crying)
DM: Morg picks up the sack of pots and pans that Bagle had collected and disappears into the mine.
PRINCESS SELANA: I run over to Bagle.
PRINCESS SELANA: He’s hurt! I gently roll Bagle over onto his back and tend to his wounds.
DM: His ribs are most certainly broken. His eyes are squeezed shut and he recoils in pain as you press against his chest.
PRINCESS SELANA: It’s okay. I’m not going to hurt you.
DM: Bagle’s eyes flutter open at the sound of your voice. He lets out a sharp, painful gasp and tries to crawl away from you, wide eyed in terror.
PRINCESS SELANA: It’s okay. I reassure him. I give him a healing potion. I mime drinking the potion so he knows what to do.
BAGLE: Poison? You try to poison Bagle?
PRINCESS SELANA: It will help you feel better. Please.
DM: Bagle nods slowly. He reaches out for the potion and drinks down the bitter liquid.
BAGLE: Bagle feel--better!
DM: Bagle looks at you with adoration. A lone tear streams down his cheek.
BAGLE: You care for Bagle. No one ever cared for Bagle before.
DM: Bagle looks away sadly and a bit embarrassed about confessing that to you.
BAGLE: But you need to leave. Morg will hurt beautiful lady. Like Morg hurt Bagle. . . and Bagle’s friends.
PRINCESS SELANA: Morg is never going to hurt you again. Or anyone! I draw my sword and help Bagle to his feet. Show me where this Morg is.
DM: Bagle takes your hand timidly.
BAGLE: Are-are you sure?
PRINCESS SELANA: It’ll be alright. Lead the way.
DM: Bagle nods, a big dumb grin on his face. You get the impression that he will do anything for you.
PRINCESS SELANA: I lift my sword and enter the mine!
DM: Darkness swallows you and Bagle. It takes a few moments for your eyes to adjust to the nearly impenetrable gloom. Iron sconces line the walls that at one time held torches but are now empty. You can hear the faint metallic ringing of iron hitting stone from the depths of the mine. There are abandoned mining carts stacked up against each other in what looks like a defensive barrier. You see signs of a struggle. Broken pick-axes litter the ground, a rusted sword lays discarded beside a helmet split down the middle.
BAGLE: Morg . . .
PRINCESS SELANA: Let’s go.
DM: The mine is a series of narrow tunnels that twist and turn in the darkness. Bagle leads the way with ease. With every step he takes you further into the mines, his posture changes. He begins to shrink down, draw his hands against his body, and lower his head.
PRINCESS SELANA: You don’t need to be scared. I’ll protect you.
BAGLE: Bagle not scared for Bagle. Bagle scared for you.
DM: The sound of a whip CRACK turns your attention away from Bagle. You can hear the echo of a pained cry and a familiar guttural voice.
MORG: Work! Faster! Get shinies!
DM: Bagle hides behind your legs clutching at your cloak.
PRINCESS SELANA: Enough of this! This ends now! I run down the corridor.
DM: You enter a large cavern teeming with goblins. They are all swinging pick-axes with all their tiny might against the walls of the mine. One of them notices you, his pick-axe stopping in mid swing.
DM: Snagle charges at you with his pick-axe, the rest of the goblin horde beginning to follow suit.
DM: Bagle throws himself in front of you, placing himself between the frenzied pick-axe wielding goblins.
BAGLE: She is friend!
DM: Bagle places a hand over his chest, the memory of this broken ribs still fresh in his mind.
SNAGLE: Morg will kill us! Eat us! No! We give this one to Morg. . . as gift! Yes, gift! Morg will give us reward.
DM: The other goblins mutter their agreement and press forward again.
PRINCESS SELANA: Whoa! Whoa! I’m on your side here! I’m going to try to charm Snagle.
DM: Snagle pauses; his pick-axe is still poised to strike.
SNAGLE: I’m listening. . .
PRINCESS SELANA: Why are all of you doing all of the work while Morg bullies you around? You don’t need him. He needs you!
PRINCESS SELANA: It’s time to rise up! Fight back!
DM: Snagle turns to his companions and begins to chant.
SNAGLE: Fight back! Fight back!
GOBLINS: FIGHT BACK!
DM: Your charm consumes Snagles’ weak mind. He believes every word of your speech and has a burning desire to overthrow his ogre overlord.
MORG: What is the noise?!
DM: Morg thunders into the cavern, a thick mallet clutched in a meaty pock marked hand.
MORG: No work? Tinies get the shines! NOW!
DM: He slams the mallet against the ground, punctuating his demand.
DM: Bagle steps forward to stand beside Snagle.
BAGLE: He said NO!
DM: Bagle grabs the pick-axe out of Snagle’s hand and sprints forward! A scream of pure hatred rips from his throat as he charges the giant creature! The other goblins echo his war cry and charge in behind him. Morg is momentarily stunned by the goblin’s bravery. Bagle swings the pick-axe burying the tip deep into Morg’s foot. The goblin horde unleashes years of oppression onto Morg’s legs. Morg bellows in rage and sweeps his mallet into the mob of goblins. It connects with a wet smack, sending four goblins flying.
PRINCESS SELANA: I draw my bow and shoot!
DM: Your arrow flies straight and true! It bites into the ogre’s flesh, eliciting another earth shaking roar from Morg.
MORG: I’m going to eat, ALL OF YOU!
DM: True to his word, Morg snatches a goblin that was climbing his leg and throws him shrieking into his gaping maw.
PRINCESS SELANA: You monster!
DM: The goblins are fighting for their lives but Morg is quickly gaining the upper hand. He back pedals a few feet and nearly trips over the minecart rails as he does so.
PRINCESS SELANA: I have an idea. . . I’m going to run around behind Morg. Is there a minecart on the tracks?
DM: There is a minecart full of rocks about thirty feet down the track.
PRINCESS SELANA: Perfect! I run over to the cart and push as hard as I can. I want it to go fast.
DM: The cart’s weight is a challenge; you barely move it forward. As you are about to give up, small green hands press against the cart next to yours. It’s Bagle.
DM: Your combined strength forces the cart to sluggishly roll forward. It begins to pick up speed; its own momentum helps you. You are sprinting and soon the cart is moving too quickly for you to keep up with. Your fingers slip off of the cart as it rockets toward Morg’s legs. Morg turns his head to the sound of the clattering cart careening down the rails toward him. But it is too late for him to react. It hits his leg with nigh unstoppable force. The snap of his leg breaking can be heard all the way to the entrance of the mine. He bellows in pain as he struggles to stay on his feet, but he can’t support his mass with just one leg. He topples over with a crash, squashing a few unfortunate goblins. But the rest see their opportunity and seize it. They swarm over Morg’s body hitting, biting, and swinging pick-axes.
PRINCESS SELANA: I rush over to help the goblins!
BAGLE: No, Princess, it’s not safe!
DM: Bagle is right. Morg throws goblins off in every direction, his eyes red with burning rage. They lock onto you.
MORG: Your FAULT!
DM: With a surge he throws himself forward, his massive taloned fingers reach out for you. You can almost feel the fingers wrapping around your body as a small goblin throws his weight into you, sending you to the floor and out of harm’s way. Morg shouts victoriously as he feels his prize in his hand. He brings it to his face to watch what happens when you squeeze a princess.
BAGLE: Me. . .
DM: Bagle barely manages to wheeze out the word as Morg’s final act is to close his fist tight.
PRINCESS SELANA: BAGLE!!
DM: Morg’s lifeless finger’s unfurl revealing the broken and mangled Bagle.
PRINCESS SELANA: I’m so sorry
BAGLE: It’s okay
DM: Bagle reaches out a small, frail, green hand out to you. His long black fingernails are searching for you.
PRINCESS SELANA: Green hand? Black fingernails?
BAGLE: Come close, princess. Bagle want to see you just one last time.
DM: Bagle’s mouth full of jagged, razor sharp teeth can barely form the words.
PRINCESS SELANA: Wait. What do you goblins look like?
BAGLE: Please, be our Queen. Lead us from this eternal darkness. This is my final wish.
PRINCESS SELANA: Seriously. Jagged razor sharp teeth?
NARRATOR: Yeah, goblins are hideous little creatures with green leathery skin, beady black eyes, long pointed ears, sharp needle-like teeth, that have a taste for human flesh and are generally pretty evil. I guess I forgot to tell you all that.
BAGLE: Please, my Queen--
PRINCESS SELANA: Ew! Gross. No!
DM: Bagle gasps at your remark. His heart is now as broken as all of his bones. And so Princess Selana the Superficial left the surviving goblins in the mine to fend for themselves.
DM: A man draped in a heavy black robe calmly walks through the depths of the Dinmoor Mine. The smells of death and decay guide him to the cavern where Morg and the goblin’s fought.
NECROMANCER: And what happened here?
DM: The necromancer moves from body to body placing a pale thin hand on each as he passes. Visions of the fight fill his mind.
DM: He places his palm on the broken body of Bagle. A wave of emotion crashes over the necromancer. Pain, heartbreak, betrayal.
NECROMANCER: You poor thing. Who could’ve done this to you?
DM: The beautiful face of Princess Selana forms in his mind.
NECROMANCER: I understand. And if I brought you back? What then?
DM: Even through the veil of death Bagle’s intentions were clear. Revenge. A smile spreads across the necromancer’s face.
DM: The necromancer begins a low chant drawing the powers of undeath to himself. Bagle’s bones pop, and twist back into place as the dark magic pours into his body.
NECROMANCER: You’re mine now. Rise.
DM: Bagle slowly sits up, his body stiff and unresponsive.