Dungeons & Dragons is a role-playing tabletop game, first created in 1974. Our group consists of two couples. We’ve been in one previous campaign together, set in the world of Ravnica, created by Wizards of the Coast. Our previous campaign was a homebrew1 created by my husband, Matthew. It involved four people going from guild to guild doing quests and ended in a TPK (a total party kill) by a Dragon God that did not like our warmongering.
My campaign is also a homebrew set in the world of Ravnica. Ravnica is a plane (a universe, essentially) that is one large city. The city consists of 10 guilds which populate the plane and have general jobs that support one another. These guilds have lots of potential for intrigue and conflict, as they all have their own philosophies and goals that drive them. I’ll do my best to explain what kind of guild drama is going on in the footnotes as our story progresses. If you’re interested in more information about the plane of Ravnica, you can check out their wiki!
Our players are:
- A Selesnyan healer and closet Rogue, named Mildred, who works downtown in the 3rd District. She is actually a Dimir spy, though no one knows this. She’s naturally inquisitive and attractive.
- A Selesnyan bard named Alfios. Alf works in the taverns in the 3rd district often and is known for being lazy around his guild. He however feels that he is not as close to the “Worldsoul”2 as others and hides behind his laziness as a front.
- An Izzet3 goblin wizard named Ralf. He was raised by humans and so is defensive about his height. He is impulsive but generally helpful.
- An NPC4 named Molander – a Selesnyan guard who does not talk very much but was sent to offer protection to the small group.
1A homebrew is a campaign that is made up by the Dungeon Master, the DM, as opposed to a campaign that you could purchase and follow along with.
2The Worldsoul is the pantheistic belief that the Selesnya hold to. They are a people of peace and harmony and believe that the Worldsoul permeates all living things and it’s will is played out through the dryad Trostani who runs their guild.
3The Izzet are the experiment inventors who have learned to create electricity for the guild. They are the reason that this world is more advanced than other worlds.
4An NPC is a non-player-character. Essentially a character that the DM controls rather than a player.
Fonn Lightleaf, breathy-voiced Dryad Vona, calls the meeting. While typically only heads of households are invited, the bard Alfios was asked to join. An Izzet Goblin, Ralf, comes into the glade clearing and approaches the Vona with a letter that summoned him here. Ralf settles onto a stump in the glade, looking annoyed amongst the group of Selesnyan centaurs and humans who look so peaceful.
The meeting begins with a clap of the dryad’s hands. Fonn begins, “The Worldsoul and Trostani have conducted several meetings where we’ve been attempting to find out what is going on with the strange weather patterns in the downtown district, not far from here.”
The group nods, as the general worry about the weather has been constant. Nature is very important to the Selesnya. Fonn continues, “There have been snowstorms, windstorms, and all in between in a season where there should be mild or hot weather. Not only are we worried about the damage to nature and our vernadi clans, but also the people are being whipped into a frenzy as they stress about the ‘bad omens’ associated with bad weather.
“We have decided to form a small party of travelers who will travel out to explore the strange weather and see what they can find. We have asked the Izzet to send a representative, which is our friend and brother, Ralf.” She gestures to Ralf, who waves halfheartedly and seems confused by being called ‘brother.’ “Joining them will be Molander, our trusted guard, and Alfios, who I believe will truly rise to the occasion. We’re excited to see how he progresses.”
Some of the crowd look skeptically in Alfios’ direction, who smiles sheepishly. The dryad purses her lips before continuing. “We have a healer, Mildred, in the tenth district waiting to greet them. She will house them and work with the team to find the problem. A letter has been sent her way. A messenger will arrive bi-weekly to collect information and carry requests back to the Vona, me, and to the rest of us.”
Fonn gestures to the three she has called out. “May your group be as harmonious as the Worldsoul. Protect the Worldsoul as it protects us.”
Molander quietly introduces himself after the meeting and both Ralf and Alfios chuckle at his large nose and forehead. Ralf quickly establishes his sensitivity about his height and Alfios pulls out a mandolin for their journey. They take the three-hour trek to town and arrive at the Selesnyan healer hut. Mildred greets them at the door and shows them to their room. They decide to get some lunch and get to know the area, asking the first questions about the weather.
They travel to the nearby tavern, the Lonely Goblin, and are seated in the rush. Behind the bar is a Vedalken Simic Hybrid5 who has tentacles for arms. As he rushes past the party with several drinks suctioned to his arms, they notice that he wears a cloak with hundreds of rings sewn into it, made of all kinds of materials. Their waitress is a sultry goblin with a nametag that reads “Kwela,” who wears a human wig and takes their orders and leaves. When she returns she flirts with both Molander and Alfios.
The party asks both the bartender, who introduces himself as Lufus, and Kwela about the recent weather. Lufus quickly outs himself as very superstitious. He says that the weather is a bad omen of plague and that before they know it the town will be overrun by werewolves or something. Ralf attempts to ask him about the rings in his clothes but Lufus quickly leaves. Kwela is mostly unbothered but also voices concern about the weather, mostly because of the damage it could cause crops.
Other bar patrons are very worried about the crops, and worried about hail, snow, wind and the damages to their dwellings. One person points out that they have greenhouses, but another reminds him that its not enough to feed all of Ravnica. Some patrons seem hardly worried; they say that it really doesn’t mean one thing or another to them.
Mildred has a short conversation with some gossipy girls at the bar: Molly & friend, who talk about a co-worker of hers, Sarah (a human), sneaking out of the healer hut to see Derek, a wide shouldered minotaur who works at the Inn.
When the food is finished, a scuttle near the front door causes a stir. A loxodon6, Billy, has been tripped by some running creature who was running from the bar. Billy comes to their party, invited by Alfios. He is clearly somewhat an alcoholic because he seems bothered until he has a drink. Billy has much the same to say: though he adds that the animals have been very skittish lately as well, starting maybe a week after the weather changes.
As they’re leaving the bar, Lufus runs up and frantically asks for help finding his wallet. Ralf quickly finds it under a chair and they return it to him. Lufus, in return, promises them free breakfast and drinks in the morning. They meet a farmer outside, and the horses break part of their yoke as they are startled by the group exiting the bar. The farmer talks to them about the weather, but no new information is exchanged.
The party shops for awhile, and Alfios plays his mandolin outside the Inn for awhile, but turns in to bed soon. Ralf & Al notice that Molander takes a sleeping pill and sleeps, unlike most elves.
5A Simic Hybrid is any person/creature who has been tampered on by the Simic, the biological evolution guild. A Vedalken is a blue-skinned tall humanoid creature, typically knowledgable and secretive.
6A loxodon is a humanoid with an elephant head and elephant legs, but can speak with common tongue. Generally peaceful.
The next morning, Alfios and Ralf wake to find Molander is soaking in the morning sun, meditating. Mildred fetches them not long later and they head to the Lonely Goblin for their promised breakfast. As they enter, however, they are greeted by a strange sight for a Sunday morning. A man all dressed in black clothes and rubber boots is standing on a table with a large crowd around him, oohing and ahhing. The man is lifting a chair over his head with only his one shiny pinky finger.
The party can’t tell what the finger is made of from their distance and they move around the crowd to Lufus, who is behind the bar looking annoyed at the disturbance in his bar. Lufus tells them that the man’s name is Isaachi. Normally a regular, this morning he came in excited to show the patrons that his finger had turned to metal and was now the most efficient it has ever been. He says it doesn’t get hot or cold and has given him super strength.
They hear Isaachi; “Imagine how great my fingers would be if I had all of them like this!” He winks to the ladies and stacks a second chair on his pinky. The ladies in the crowd sigh.
The goblin waitress, Kwela, takes their order again. She looks tired and also irritated by Isaachi’s loud boasting. Before they can order, Ralf gets up from the table and decides to push through the crowd to Isaachi. Ralf asks Isaachi if he could see his finger and Isaachi laughs derisively, calling him “little guy.” Ralf insults his shoes and Isaachi drops the chair onto his head. He apologies, but does so while laughing.
Ralf is embarrassed and pulls out from the crowd. They notice Bilius, the Loxodon from yesterday, in the corner. “Men should be men and that’s all, it’s unnatural,” Billy says, and so do some of the other men who feel slighted by the crowd around him. The party starts to hatch plots on how they might stop this arrogant bastard and also examine his pinky.
Alfios pulls out his mandolin and speak-sings a song loudly. The crowd hushes to turn to him.
“Isaachi sure likes to talk-y;
All about his new finger.
Has it been grown or bought to own?
He might just be a swinger.
“Isaachi is strong
And very flamboyant.
He talks and lifts and looks all swift –
But sure is not clairvoyant.”
The crowd laughs and Isaachi gets down, mollified. The crowd tips Alfios for his song, and Ralf transforms himself with magic to appear like a short woman. Mildred swoops in first, however, and begins to pull him outside, asking to see his finger in private.
Outside, however, a horse careens against the side of the bar and down the street, ripping through a vendor while the other horse, still attached to the cart, is stomping and whinnying in the direction of a metal creature.
The being resembles a globe with its body – metallic with rings encircling it. The rings rotate every which way, seemingly detached from the body as the body spins around from the inside. Attached to the rings are spider-like metallic legs. The rings’ spinning causes the legs to move very quickly and without much effort. The creature zooms by and gets trapped between the wall, a box, the horse, and the crowd. The creature is spinning in place, and moving in and out as if looking for an escape.
Alfios exits the bar and attempts to calm the horse but it is restless. Ralf, still disguised as a woman, grabs onto Isaachi’s arm as if in fright. Meanwhile, Mildred is approaching the creature, and it gets more agitated as she comes close.
Ralf suddenly, swiftly, slices off Isaachi’s right hand. He screams, which startles the crowd more. Isaachi, holding his stump and whimpering, heads for the healer hut, crying. Ralf catches the hand midair, spattering himself with blood. He chops off the pinky, which cuts cleanly and does not bleed. He wipes it off and sticks it in his pocket, leaving the rest of the hand in the gutter.
Alfios is disgusted by this turn of events, but Ralf quickly switches his attention, reaching out with his electro-cuffed arm toward the creature. One of the creature’s spindly legs breaks into two pieces and claws through his shirt sleeve. Mildred backs up, and the crowd parts to allow the creature to scuttle away, legs rolling over themselves to get away. It turns down the alley past the bar.
Molander later notices the claw marks on the stones in the alley and they see that they end at the sewer grate, which is small.
The party decides to check on Isaachi, who is passed out from blood loss in the healer hut. They go back to the tavern for lunch, hoping their free meal extends to lunchtime even with the commotion of the morning. Lufus is frustrated by the damage to his bar and examining it keenly.