During a grandfamily retreat, the cousins who played D&D decided to open up a level 3 one-shot so a curious newcomer could join us and learn the basics. We were all to be vanilla Humans for simplicity, and use subclasses found in the only book the DM brought: the Player’s Handbook. Since I used DnDBeyond, I asked the DM if I could use spells and beasts from other sources, and he confirmed it and the beasts.
And so, Jason Swiftstrike was created. Already anticipating the hijinks my cousins would get up to, I introduced him first in the group. Jason would be from the neighboring savage lands, where primeval beasts made survival difficult. Jason joined the group late, because he had no experience with society, and the party were the first to offer work, proper clothes, and lessons in society in return for his skills as a hunter. I got lucky with my rolls, and made him a level 2 Moon Druid with a Monk dip for the Unarmored Defense and Martial Arts for both Dex strikes and bonus action attacks.
My fears about their hijinks were confirmed when the second veteran went next. Michael Octavius Long, whose shortened name is one I refuse to say aloud, was a Beat Totem Barbarian who was in it for the nuts. Next was Beetle the Valor Bard, who was looking to earn money to woo a Princess. And finally, Killian the Assassin Rogue was a new player who didn’t make a backstory.
The DM sat down, and began the session. He told us we were hired on by a Wizard named Tyndareus, who used an Imp as a butler, in order to go to an abandoned bakery overrun by Kobolds to recover the recipe to the best apple pie he ever ate. Immediately, Mike and Killian wanted to fight the Wizard, but the DM put his foot down on attacking our employer.
When we reached the bakery, a smaller apple treant was standing out front. He was gruff, and demanded to know why we were trespassing. Beetle stepped up and declared we planned to make apple pies, and asked him if he knew about the recipe. Not hearing the veiled threat, nor feeling Killian steal some of his apples with a thrown dagger, the treant told us of Dryads in the orchard out back who knew something.
As we rounded the building, we spotted some Kobolds who immediately dashed around the corner. Killian and Jason suggested we rush around the other way, then catch them off guard with a sneak attack. Our trick worked, and we got a surprise round.
Jason managed to go second, after Mike rushed in and was ambushed by a sentient purple mushroom. I Wild Shaped into a Deinonychus, pouncing and biting one Kobold before clawing another. I got the first “How Do You Want to Do This,” so I described the pounce breaking open the first Kobold’s chest and me eating his heart. Beetle got the second HDYWtDT, and detailed a beetle-shaped cut on his Kobold, similar to Zorro.
Then Mike got his kill, and simply smashed out the Kobold’s next generation. That was where the cousin hijinks began.
After the combat, we entered the orchard. The Barbarian was still raging the turn we all got pelted by nearly rotten apples for 1 damage. Mike remained angry, and was trying to throw the apples back to their invisible sources. He was then focused by the apples, even though half of 1 damage was 0.
After three rounds of this, and the party enjoying his torment, I stepped up, dropping my Deinonychus form and shouting in Sylvan “Enough!” The apples were split between the two of us.
“We did not come for a fight. We seek the recipe for the apple pies that used to be made here.”
In response to the middling Persuasion roll, feminine voices giggled, and replied in Common, “We don’t know anything about a fight.”
I roleplayed the high wisdom, “So you do know something about the recipe.”
Near the back of the orchard, I spotted some trees that were beginning to decay. I went over and cast Druidcraft, to promote new growth and leaves.
In response, a couple Dryads appeared. “The recipe was hidden in two fragments. One is in the old lady’s apartment.”
As soon as they appeared, Mike tried to throw an apple at them. Natural 1, he instead slipped and fell on a rotted apple.
The Dryads and other players had a laugh at his expense. “The Kobolds inside don’t know about a secret door. It led to some sort of delivery room, around that corner.”
Beetle the Bard then failed to persuade any more information out of them, and we moved on. Beetle asked me why I, a man from the savage land, was being diplomatic. After asking him what that word meant, I replied “in order to survive against the primal beasts, you need a spear for enemies, and a spoon for friends. If you don’t trust and help one another, you are an easy meal.”
Killian spied out the back entrance and saw a patrol of four Kobolds, with more further into the room.
After he reported it, I asked him “Do you want us all to rush in from the back door, or would you like a distraction?”
He opted for the distraction, and so I split myself from the party, despite the DM’s surprise. I told them to wait for a change in the patrols, and made my way to the front door.
The front room was designed to receive customers, and had two side doors into the bakery itself. I initiated combat, but didn’t go first. The party held their turns, and the Kobolds didn’t notice either myself or the group.
I cast Fog Cloud through one of the doors, Wild Shaped into a Giant Spider, and barely squeezed through the door. There was one Kobold at the edge of the fog, and two within, and the other 12 or so began to take cover facing me, meaning no cover from the opposite side of the building.
After a round and a Crit from one of the fog-bound Kobolds, I climbed onto the wall and webbed up the Kobold at the edge of the fog, making sure to leave his mouth free to scream. This kept most reptilian eyes focused in my distraction, and gave a second mostly surprise round to the party.
Meanwhile, my three focused prey were wetting themselves. The webbed one broke out and nearly tripped as he fled, and the two inside the fog nearly hit each other trying to find me, then ran in opposite directions: one out of the fog and the other into a foggy corner. I crawled loudly along the wall, felt out the Kobold for fear effect, then sunk my fangs into his shoulder. The bite didn’t kill him outright, but the poison went up his jugular and into his skull, ensuring he could scream and froth the longest. Rather than chase down the other runner, I stayed concealed.
However, Beetle decided to yell a Vicious Mockery, which drew most of the living Kobolds’ attention away from me. I left and dropped my fog of horrors, falling from the ceiling onto 2 Kobolds to knock them prone, and ate the skull of one of the prone Kobolds, to the side-busting amusement of the cousins who said "head" instead.
It was then when Jason saw the cousin hijinks were already dialed up to 11. During those three rounds, they killed all but 5 Kobolds, and with each death further from the door, the Kobold's rocky mountain oysters’ dismemberment and desecration became worse and more detailed. The DM stopped asking for HDYWtDT’s after the fifth one, but they still shared them amongst each other.
When only 2 Kobolds were left, I missed with my web, and roleplayed it as missing his feet. I dropped my Wild Shape, and told him “if you don’t tell us where the recipe is, they will do worse to you than they did to your companions.”
Before he could have his turn to grovel, his buddy was killed. The DM ruled that due to my foggy trauma, seeing what happened to his tribe, and another player‘s non-lethal eviration; it all made him go mad and become incomprehensible. Before I could cast Healing Word on the creature, Killian finished him off, once again aiming where the sun doesn't shine.
So we searched through the factory, found the two halves of the scroll, and made some pies using the stolen treant apples from earlier. But as we went back to our employer Tyndareus, the other players discussed attacking him and looting his tower. During the journey, I preserved the pies using Purify Food and Drink. But as they entered the tower, I stayed outside.
As Jason turned to leave, and raining meteors began destroying the tower and anyone within, he thought to himself ‘If this is what it means to be civilized, I would rather return to the so called savage lands.’