A while back my friend said that a good idea for a double date was D&D, but when I finally decided to do it, he suddenly didn’t want to. Fortunately, my best friend and one of my veteran players, Bo, his “Not Girlfriend,” Rose, and my own girlfriend, Caz, all thought it was a great idea. So for Valentine’s Day we played D&D.
I DM’d, I told Bo to make a rich noble. The way I did so, however, apparently got him under the impression that it would be a murder mystery.
He rolled up Lord Sectalan Notem, heir of house Notem, level one Human (Variant) Rogue. He wants nothing more than to prove he can do things without his parents’ help.
He helped Rose create her first character ever, Lady Faelee Vallee, heir of house Vallee, level one Wood Elf Ranger. She loves to spend all her time shooting, hunting, and talking with the heir of their rival house, House Notem. She just wants to do her best to win her family’s approval.
I helped Caz with their own first character, Nowhere Paintmore, Heir of House Paintmore, level one Tiefling Fighter. They just want to be chaotic and to be seen as someone other than the child of a pair of famous adventurers. For those of you who don’t know, Tieflings often rename themselves after virtues that they then try to replicate, and so do non-binary people. So, being chaotic neutral, the name Nowhere was chosen straight from the list of example virtue names in the PHB.
In preparation for this one shot, I knew they would go crazy, and possibly murdurhobo-y, as new players tend to do. I used a floor plan creating app to make a map of the mansion. I could have drawn it by hand, or I could have used AutoCAD, but this was more portable. After that, I simply marked a few points, wrote out a monologue for the opening, and bought food.
I started them off in the banquet hall of House Glenbrook. Lord Glenbrook had recently passed away, and the citylord was going to ceremoniously pass on the main signet ring to the only heir, Lady Aerelei Glenbrook.
I tried to see if they would start socializing with the other nobles around by prompting that Lord Velron was missing, but they didn’t seem inclined to make a check to see if they knew he had some family issues.
So I skipped right to when Citylord Faron gave the ring to Lady Glenbrook, who then proceeded to—
“Then she dies,” Bo said.
“—fall on the floor dead.” I said.
We laughed it off and I then described that the killer stood behind her, staring down the stunned crowd. The sounds of screams and clinks of chainmail echoed around the room as soldiers began to pour in from the entrance. They were quickly barred by Glenbrook house guards, but the assassin managed to vanish in the commotion.
Nowhere was unable to detect with an 11 where he had gotten off to. The party decided to take the side door in the back of the room where the servants had come through to bring in the food. The only other door was currently a battle of guards against soldiers. So they took the right door, rather than the left, and noted that the servants, who had been waiting there to bring in the next course of the meal, had dropped their platters and left. The party made their way through the crowd of people up a flight of circular stairs. There they saw a bunch of cowering nobles.
They went up another flight of stairs. Less cowering nobles here. They were soon cleared out by Lord Tiring, who ran past calling “I know a way out from here!”
Sectalan then declared, “Right, so I know where we’re not going.”
I had expected this, which was why I had set it up so that they could do whatever they wanted and it would work.
A firm hand grasped Sectalan’s shoulder, he turned to see that his father had followed them.
“Oh,” he said, “Hey… Dad.”
“Son, we’re leaving, Lord Tiring knows a way out, we need to go, and why are you with her again?” He said this last part gesturing to Faelee who, as I’ll remind you, was the heir to the Notem’s rival house.
“Right, don’t you think that the enemy will be waiting over there for you? They would be blocking it off, right?”
“It’s worth a shot, son, and we’re taking that shot,” He began to drag Sectalan away, “and we’re leaving your friends, they’re not worth your time.”
Nowhere responded to this by punching the man in the gut for max non-crit damage.
So, while Lord Notem remembers that his sword is fake and returns the max non-crit damage to our friend, the Tiefling, I’m going to go ahead and do a shameless plug for my YouTube and twitch channels, Ticonderuger. Bo does as well, but I’ll plug that later.
Sectalan finally gets fed up and shoves his father, which convinces him to just leave with a “Fine, you can just die then, for all I care.”
“I have been waiting my whole life for him to say that,” Sectalan sighs to his friends.
An enemy then walked up a nearby flight of stairs. There are a few things that must be pointed out at this time.
First, all the weapons brought into the manor are fake, except for the rapier and dagger Sectalan snuck in (because Rogue), and the arming sword Nowhere also snuck in. Faelee is armed with the steak knife she was using earlier, still with bits of steak along the blade.
Second, gambeson (A.K.A padded armor), which definitely does NOT grant disadvantage on stealth checks, was often designed to be quite fashionable, thus Nowhere and Sectalan both were equipped with a gambeson.
Third, Almost Gamers is a great YouTube channel by Bo and his brother, go check them out, and you might also want to check out Bo’s Twitch, at AlmostBo.
Fourth, there was a door to the left of the top of the stairs that opened flat against the top of the stairs.
Initiative was rolled.
Sectalan threw his dagger over the banister at the soldier, it missed.
Then Nowhere was somewhere. That somewhere was the top of the stairs, where they readied an action to open the door when the soldier reached the top of the stairs.
Faelee threw her steak knife.
Though it, being a steak knife, that still only meant 4 damage though.
The soldier, now limping from the knife in his leg, reached the top of the stairs.
Nowhere slammed the door open into his face.
The guard took another 4 damage from the door, failed a dexterity saving throw to stay standing and rolled down the stairs where he lay for the remainder of the session.
The party took his sword and shield — they didn’t have time for his armor — but Faelee had a weapon now.
I then realized that the situation was very similar to one that I have in a different campaign where my rogue’s airplane dagger (he, uh, has one of those) became legendary. I’ll have to tell you that story sometime. Perhaps on my own channel.
I rolled percentile to see if the same thing happened to the steak knife.
It’s now got a +1 enhancement modifier, and an additional +1 when thrown.
The party jokes about cutting off the soldiers head and using it to intimidate their way out when they realise the nobles that the soldier had been keeping hostage, who are completely frozen in terror.
“The way up there is clear, you can go,”ays Faelee, the lawful good character.
The nobles scurry up the steps and vanish. Meanwhile another soldier walks in from a door behind the stairs.
“Can I roll to scare him?” Caz asks.
“Yeah,” I say, “That’s why you’re proficient in intimidation. Roll that d20.”
The guard freezes, then backs away slowly.
The party laughs, then he comes back with two buddies.
“I hide,” Bo says.
“I draw my sword and stare them down.” Caz grins.
“I see what you were talking about when you said ‘scary,’” the soldiers say to one another as they leave.
“Can I steal something from them?” Bo asks.
I should have expected what the outcome of his roll would be by now.
“You have a nice new dagger and are 15 GP richer.”
The party then realizes something.
“Wait,” Bo says, “This is the house of the wealthiest family in the city, right?”
“Second,” I correct. “But yes.”
“And the last heir just died?”
Also the pizza arrived.
As I came back to the table, Caz decided Nowhere started going by Arson, “I’ve actually met a couple of people who named themselves Arson,” Caz says.
After sacking a bedroom for some jewelry and some gold, they head on through the door those soldiers from earlier had come through.
The previous soldiers are nowhere to be seen, but there is another down the hallway.
Arson glares at him.
He leaves, then pokes his friend through a doorway next to him. A second spearman joins him.
11 on intimidation finally vreaks the streak of nat 20s.
The party engages the spearmen, then move through the doorway into a balcony overlooking the banquet hall. Several hostile archers are firing into the hall as well, ignoring the party.
“Can I take the spearman’s kite shield?” asked Caz.
“Can I use it to knock one of the archers off the edge?”
“Yeah, you can try to bull rush him with it; roll your strength.”
Arson rushes the poor guy and they both bust through the banister and fall into the battle below. The archer, soldier, house guard, and a spear break Arson’s fall.
“Can I try to take the chandelier down with me?”
I sighed and uttered the famed words: “Roll for it.”
I was getting kind of sick of this, but, at least it was really funny.
Bits of glass, brass, wax and fire flew everywhere. The aptly-named Arson remembered about their fire resistance, and ran into the burning hall, dancing around burning tables and chairs to get away from the melee.
Meanwhile Sectalan engaged the remaining archers on the balcony above. As he trades blows with one of them, everybody, including K, forgot Faelee’s turn, so she stared at the chaos in stunned silence.
Arson looked at the two doors, one of which the party had already gone through, then paused.
“WHERE DO I GO?” they yell up to the balcony.
Sectalan quoted Barbosa from Pirates of the Caribbean, stabbing an archer through the lungs as he yelled back, “I’M A BIT BUSY AT THE MOMENT!”
Arson jumped up the few feet to the balcony and grabbed onto the edge. Faelee helped hoist her up, then they all fled the madness to go down a random flight of stairs then found themselves in a kitchen.
While Faelee and Sectalan discussed what to do next, Arson ate an apple because Faelee wouldn’t let them cut soldier #1’s head off. Finally, they all jumped out a window and watched the mansion burn down.
The final nat 20 count was 8, so I think I added in some extras in there, but that’s fine.
Next time our group meets I hope to have another amazing story to share with you, so stay tuned!