The Adventure of Unnamed Lizard #23
Posted on September 14, 2018
As a first time DM, I sent my group of first time players off to steal a magical dragon artifact from an evil king. The motley crew consisted of an idealistic Wizard fighting for magocracy, an easy-going Barbarian in love with a wolf-girl, a peaceful Cleric with a mighty warhammer, and a cunning Elf Fighter with a dark past.
Disguised as a royal delegation from the neighboring kingdom, they had already managed to enter the palace, having only butchered an innocent traveller, three soldiers, and four bandits on their journey (they revived and healed some of their victims out of remorse).
Locating and extracting the artifact in a heavily guarded palace would require a different approach.
While the Magician tried to persuade the Elf to climb through the king's study room's window, the Barbarian took off with a different idea. Having just reached level 3, he had chosen the totem path and was eager to talk to some "beasts" and maybe find the item by hooking into their superior senses. A wild discussion on the topic of what counted as a "beast" broke out. Blanking on the rules, I decided that any vertebrate would qualify.
He dashed off to the back of the castle where the kitchen was conveniently located, and ran past a barrel of food scraps from the last banquet, to some sunny rocks close to the river.
To where Unnamed Lizard #23, that poor innocent ‘beast’, was carelessly sunbathing. Giddy fortune's furious fickle wheel, that goddess blind, the Barbarian rolled high and grabbed the lizard and imprisoned it in the jug. Trying to appease the panicking reptile, the Barbarian frantically searched for some food, and opened the food bin. A whole mischief of rats emerged. But they had also left some potatoes, which were then generously served to the lizard.
The rest of the group was, politely put, skeptic, but the Cleric and the Elf decided to play along while the Magician was summoned to the king for a wine reception. So when the Barbarian initiated his psychic connection to the terrified lizard, Cleric and Elf could barely hold the lizard in the jar, then scurried to the study room and shoved the pitiable creature through the door gap.
Our hero, Unnamed Lizard #23, bolted through the room, finally freed, and received the second shock of its life when it stepped on the dragon artifact and released its glowing runes.
Assured of success, the group now just needed a distraction. Conveniently, a group of NPC assassins had decided that it was a good time to strike and blasted a good ol' wand of fireball at the king (not a popular guy, apparently), hoping to put the blame on the Magician. Another story for another day.
While Elf and Cleric raced to their companions aid, the Barbarian felt that the time was ripe for the heist. He bolted into the room and took the artifact. Knowing that the castle was now teeming with alerted guards, there was only one way out—namely, jumping out of the window into the river below.
Giddy fortune's furious fickle wheel, that goddess blind. He rolled a 1. Again blanking on the rules, I leniently decided that ten hitpoints and a broken ankle would suffice as a sacrifice to Fortuna.
While he was laying at the riverside, immobilized, desperately hiding the stolen artifact in the mud, his companions in the castle were arrested for attempted regicide. Unnamed Lizard #23 packed its stuff and moved to a calmer neighborhood.