The Epic Tale of Sir Henry

So to start things off, Sir Henry is a Rooster...the Bard's Rooster. But let's not start there. Let's start from the beginning instead...


I had always wanted to get into D&D, and when one of my friends said that he, his wife, and three others were creating a group and they wanted me to join, I was all on board.  My very first time playing, I decided to take things easy and not jump into a complicated character, so I chose to play a male, Human Ranger who was a hunter and tracker and was known for collecting teeth and fangs as trophies from his hunts.  We also had a Half-Orc Fighter, a Dragonborn Oathbreaker Paladin, a Half-Elf Rogue, and a Tiefling Sorceror on the team.  The last character, was the DM's character, a Mountain Dwarf Bard with a unique personality.

Now I know things can get dicey when a DM plays a character in the campaign, but this guy actually balanced things out pretty well.  We all individually had small one-shot adventures with him with our characters to establish them and get them to level 2 before we all met and formed our party.  Things were going well and when we finally met together and began playing, we learned that we were going to run The Hoard of the Dragon Queen.

Our first few sessions went perfectly.  In the first town we were in, our Dwarf Bard befriended a rooster which he decided to keep as his pet and he trained with his Animal Handling Skill to sit on his shoulder whenever we traveled.  This is actually not too far-fatched either since I actually raise chickens and have trained my own rooster IRL to perch on my shoulder as I walk around sometimes.

Anyways, our Dwarven Bard was super eccentric and decided to name the rooster, Sir Henry, mostly because of a feeling he had.  Sir Henry survived with us for quite a few sessions.  Each time a monster tried attacking him, our Bard would stop it.  Eventually, we lost our Tiefling Sorceror after a couple of sessions.  She was IRL dating the Dragonborn Paladin and they had a pretty nasty breakup, so she left us.  The DM's wife also got busy with life, so we lost our Half-Elf rogue shortly after that.

So it was just my Ranger, the Half-Orc Fighter, the Dragonborn Paladin, and our DM/Dwarven Bard and Sir Henry.  We continued on our adventures together and one day, we were faced with a decision to make.  There were two paths to follow.  Either we choose one path through the woods and hope we find the dungeon that housed a magical artifact, or we split the party and take both paths.  We were still low level at the time, and had no means of communicating to one another if we found which path was the correct path.  Our Dragonborn Paladin decides to take one path and go alone and the Dwarven Bard decides to follow him, but he tells me and the Half-Orc Fighter to take the other path, but told me to take Sir Henry with me.  I agree hestitantly, as I'm not to keen on splitting the party, but our characters seemed bent on it.

Me and the Fighter head a ways into the woods, and using my Survival skills as a Ranger, I locate special tracks that we need to follow eventually leading us to our end goal.  We hunker down and hide and watch the entrance to the dungeon only to spot several cultists coming in and out of the dungeon.  Good.  We have not been noticed yet, but now we have no way of telling our two other party members to come our way.  The Fighter gets an idea, and we decide to try and send Sir Henry to try and "deliver" the message.

The DM/Bard did not want his rooster hurt, so out of game, I could tell the DM was getting nervous that we were sending his poor defenseless rooster through the woods alone.  I use my Animal Handling skill and Speak with Animals ability to tell Sir Henry to get his master and the Dragonborn and lead them back here.  At this point, we're thinking, yeah this will never work, and we will have to double back to find them.  The DM makes me roll and BOOM, Nat20.  This was my first Nat20 I had ever had while playing so far, so Sir Henry understands exactly what he needs to do and heads off.

Cue a few rolls behind the DM screen as the DM prepares to throw a few potential encounters for his rooster, and he asks me to roll again for Sir Henry.  I roll and get another Nat20.  Sir Henry avoids the encounters and finds his owner and the Paladin.  He gets a decent enough roll that they figure Sir Henry wants them to follow him and suddenly we all reunite as a party once more.  We were all left in disbelief that the dice gods seemed to lean in our favor as we sent a messenger rooster to reunite us once more and continue our mission against the Dragon cult.

The campaign continued and our DM asked us if we wanted to do some side-quests here and there to level up.  Our Dragonborn Paladin created a side-quest for us all as well which he ran as well and titled it, "The Epic Tale of Sir Henry."  Because of our previous experience in the woods, he was inspired to write a side-quest in which we discovered that Sir Henry was actually once a noble knight who was cursed and had his soul transferred into a rooster.  It explained how he was so smart, how he avoided death, and how he became such a vital party member despite being only a chicken.  Where before it was just us being funny sending Sir Henry to do these things and succeeding each time with crazy good dice rolls thinking he'd die, these all now had a valid explanation.

I won't go into too many details about the side-quest, but the rooster was killed in the battle.  However, his story did not end there.  We eventually freed Sir Henry's soul by defeating the warlock who put him there and our Dwarven Bard was able to "meet" the real Sir Henry for the first time as a spirit.  Sir Henry thanked him and each one of us in turn before giving us all a very heartfelt goodbye and ascending at last.

Since then, I've learned that with D&D, anything is possible.  You can find inspiration even in funny moments, and as a DM, you can adapt nearly any situation to create epic tales.  I've become a DM since then and have been running a few campaigns over the years, but I will never ever forget the Epic Tale of Sir Henry.


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