Welcome to my campaign, The Ravensend! This is the beginning of the campaign I have created for my Dungeons & Dragons group back in January and the majority of it is homebrew. If you haven’t read the introduction to my world, you can read it here. I will be posting episodic updates on what the group has been up to, going session by session. We play once a month so once we get caught up on here, you can expect the updates to become monthly.
In the heart of the city of Ravensoul, on the north side of Taka Sqaure, stood the large double doors into the esteemed Ravensend Guild. Today the doors were wide open. People from all over Excaldorei have travelled to come to the open exam to gain possible membership into the Ravensend Guild, a guild known for their adventurers and taking on mercenary-type work.
This is where we meet our group. Five people stood together, all holding a cyan coloured card: a half-orb barbarian Kildark, a half-elven bard Bolero, a blue dragonborn paladin Ragnarok, a human monk Ander, and an elven rogue Lia. A tan-skinned female human approached them and introduced herself as Rey, their proctor for the exam. She will be the one to judge their performance.
A burly dwarf with a heavy warhammer took the stage at the back of the long guild hall. Behind him hung a large red fabric banner with the Ravensend Guild crest. A matching crest was emblazoned on the dwarf’s left pauldron. His booming gruff voice silenced the large crowd of eligible guild members.
He welcomed everybody to the entrance exam into the guild and introduced himself as Caine, a member of the guild. He gave a general explanation of the test: Every group will be teleported to a remote location and is required to retrieve a certain item. Every item was different, so part of the test was to figure out which item to bring back with them. He was sure to stress how necessary teamwork was to pass this test.
So Rey led the group to a teleportation circle down one of the hallways. She gave them a few potions of healing and wished them luck before they were all teleported to a beach.
The group stealthed through the nearby forest, keeping an ear and eye out for anything hostile. Ander climbed a tree to get a better survey of the land. This forest looked to cover this entire island. There was a fog that laid over the surrounding water, so there was no sight of any lands. Towards the northwest though, there was a large grey dot in the sea of trees. That looked to be the place to check out.
After a couple of hours of trekking through the forest, the group came to a large cave entrance with a large stone blocking the way. On the stone the words “Speak the name of the True Guild Master and you may enter” appeared. The group deliberated and thought through the answer, deciding that the answer must be Lord Kurn, the founder of the guild many centuries ago. The stone moved out of the way to expose the entrance into the cave, but the sound attracted some wolves nearby.
The group entered their first battle encounter with a couple of wolves. The party was quick to attack, but Ander hesitated, trying to calm the wolves at first. Having already sustained some damage from the other party members, the wolves remained hostile and on the offensive.
To add to the party’s troubles, they discovered the shrubs on the edges of the entrance were enchanted. They came to life and attacked the party with their branches. With their quick reflexes and skilled blades, the party defeated the Awakened Shrubs and wolves without any trouble and only sustaining minimal wounds.
Entering the cave, the 15ft wide path was lit with torches along the wall. With careful eyes, Ander and Bolero were able to spot a pressure plate halfway down the path. Lia, being skilled in the rogue-ish arts, had very little trouble slinking her thieves’ tools underneath the plate and disarming the trap.
As they continued forward, the group came to a fork in the cave. The north path was blocked off by another stone door that required two orbs in the lock plate. That left the east and the west paths. Bolero decided to head towards the west so the party trailed on after him.
The west path opened up into a stone room with two animated skeletons in the center and ready to fight. Past the skeletons, there was a shining red gem recessed into the opposite vine covered wall. It was only a few moments before they were in battle and now they were in another! Lucky for them, this battle wasn’t even remotely more difficult than the last. With their vulnerability to bludgeoning damage, Ander shone with his quick fists and quarterstaff.
Bolero, always quick to walk in, walked towards the gem as the vines on the wall began to move. The vines snaked down from the wall towards Bolero and formed into a humanoid figure made of vines. The group stood face to face with a Vine Blight.
Luckily, everybody was still running on adrenaline and ready for this fight. The Blight was tougher than the other battles though. It was able to absorb much more damage than everything else up until this point, and its nasty Entangling Plants ability left Bolero immobile for the majority of the fight. But Kildark’s Rage continued on. He slashed across the Blight’s torso, completing slicing it in half; its top half falling off its bottom.
Ander helped Bolero free himself from the vines while Lia saw something catch her eye in the remaining vines. Another skeleton, grasping a Potion of Superior Healing. She made sure to grab it, just in case, and may have found another thing or two in the entangled mess.
After a thorough check of the area, the party decided to pop the red gem out from the wall. Text began to glow over where the gem used to rest: “We can jump to the front lines and over our black enemies“. Keeping those words in mind, the party headed back to the fork in the path, this time taking the east.
Arriving to the end of the east path, the party is led into a very similar room to the one with the skeletons. The main difference was the lack of vines and skeletons, but there was a very large tree in the right corner that broke through the ceiling of the room, letting some sunlight pour into the room. On the opposite wall, there was a blue gem shining in the middle.
Bolero knew to be more cautious this time, thinking there may be some hidden enemies in the room. As the rest of the party entered the room, he snuck along the left wall across the way. After only a few steps, he triggered a trapped pitfall that ran the width of the entire room, about 10ft wide. He saved himself with his nimble Dexterity, but now the team had to find a way across this chasm.
Kildark didn’t even hesitate and used his brute strength to leap across the gap. Lia and Ander used their acrobatic training to make the leap, grasping the edge of the other side and pulled themselves up. Bolero just barely made it across with his less than refined skills. He was naturally dexterous, but it was tough to compete with the Rogue and the Monk.
Now Ragnarok was a bit more hesitant, especially given his heavier chain mail. Kildark quickly tied his rope to a javelin and tossed it over to the blue dragonborn. Ragnarok tied the rope to himself and leapt across the way with the Half Orc assisting with a friendly pull. Now with everybody across the way they cautiously approached the blue gem. Luckily they weren’t met with anything guarding the way. When the blue gem was removed from the wall, text appeared, similar to when they removed the red gem. This time it read: “We are the ones to take arms for the good“.
This time to get everybody across, Kildark created a rope guide with two javelins: one anchor on their side and another on the exit side (after successfully leaping the gap again). Everybody made it to the other side, with a little bit of a hiccup from Lia and Bolero losing their grip and falling to the bottom of the 20ft pit. They sustained some damage from the fall, but it wasn’t anything a Potion of Healing couldn’t help. With a bit more rope, the other party members were able to drop it down to the Elf and Half-Elf and pull them up to safety. At least they are not willing to leave each other behind.
Now with the red and blue gems, the party headed back to the northern path, to the locked door. They placed the rounded gems into the slots and the door slid open, revealing another room. This one was much larger than the other two rooms. There was an older Elven gentleman standing in the middle on a raised dias. The man grinned to see the party had made it this far and he began to channel natural magical energy through his body, transforming himself into a Giant Scorpion.
The Giant Scorpion, with its quick speed, charged right for the party and attacked with its claws and stinger. The party started off strong despite all of the battles beforehand. They were able to hold their ground, sustaining very limited damage by avoiding its stinger, but the scorpion was able to take more hits than they thought. Then, in a moment of desperation, the Giant Scorpion grasped Kildark, grappling him in its claw, and hits him with its poisonous stinger. Kildark, overcome by the amount of damage just from the stinger, felt consciousness fade from him, but his orcish blood began to boil. He was able to hang on to a sliver of life.
Seeing his companion almost fade, Ragnarok held up his warhammer and called upon the power of Pholtus, the God of Light and Law. Lightning began to emanate off his hammer He slammed it down right onto the back of the Giant Scorpion, giving it a Thunderous Smite. The exoskeleton of the scorpion began to crack and the Elven Druid was forced to revert back to his humanoid form.
The Druid, who then introduced himself as Maevin, congratulated the party on defeating him in one of his strongest Wild Shapes. It was a fight he rarely lost. But this was not their final test. There was one more thing they must complete. The wall at the back of the room opened up to reveal a pedestal with a chess board on top. The pieces on the board were scattered as if it were in the middle of a game being played.
Maevin returned to the dias at the center of the room as it glowed under him. He informed them that they will need two items to complete the test. The first item, the one they must promise to protect the most, will open the way back to the guild, while the second item is the required item they must retrieve. As to what those items were, that was for them to figure out. With a final word of good luck, Maevin activated the teleportation circle under him and disappeared.
Words began to appear around the door they entered from: “We of the guild promise to protect all, royalty, nobility, and most of all, the common. We of the guild will venture as the night turns to day. We of the guild stand beside the walls, and will always answer the call.”
The party stood around the chess board deliberating over these new clues, along with the words they saw in the other two rooms. They analyzed the position of the pieces and thought through all of the clues. They were quick to decide that the first item must be a white pawn, for pawns are the most common piece in the game. The second item caused a lot of discussion. It could’ve been any of the white pieces on the board, but what caught their eye was the fact there was only one white knight. The clues seemed to describe a knight, both as a chess piece and as a member of the guild, so the group took their chances.
They placed a white pawn in the middle of the teleportation circle on the dias and were instantly teleported back to the room they left Rey in at the guildhall. There stood Maevin, Rey, and the dwarf who spoke to everybody in the guild hall earlier, Caine. He gave them warm congratulations for completing the task and reminded them to remember what it means to be part of the guild – to help those who need it.
After Caine and Maevin left the room to congratulate other teams, Rey ‘expressed’ her congratulations with an unimpressed tone. She didn’t seem too surprised they returned successful. She handed them a couple of gifts from the guild, and informed them that just by passing this test, they are only Fledglings. They still need to prove themselves if they want to become true members. This was their way of weeding out those who didn’t have the guts to truly make it in the guild. It looked like they will have to achieve something more to be Guild Members.
Rey informed them they were the twelfth team to arrive back from their test, so the guild will be calling them Team 12, unless they wish to go by a different team name. The party gave it some deep thought and came up with the name The Javelins, to commemorate their use of the Javelins to get past that chasm in the second room in the cave.
Rey rolled her eyes and jotted down the name The Javelins onto her clipboard full of notes. She gave another congratulations to the party before telling them to arrive back to the guild hall in the morning. Now that they have gained Fledgling status, they can be considered for full membership into the guild. Starting tomorrow they will have to show the guild what they can do on a real assignment.