By Will Johnson
This journal is the property of the author, Will Johnson and is used with permission by Candlekeep. Email Will with any comments and feedback on this story.
It is my belief that drunken masters work far better as npc's, but this was an unusual situation. The DM was an experienced gamer, but did not know FR well at all and the players were all new to the game. When I was asked to join, I tried to find out what the party needed most to round it out. I was told that the group was fairly well balanced and I could play anything I wanted under one stipulation -- I had to come up with a character concept that would encourage as much role playing as possible. The guys had figured out the nuts and bolts, but hadn't really done much in character game play.
So, I created Dreygar, a level 6 monk, slowly sliding away from lawful neutral toward chaotic neutral. The Drunken Master doesn't have an alignment requirement, so we determined that he would shift into that class, drop to neutral, and eventually sleaze his way into chaotic neutral. We were using the 3.0 version of Drunken Master.
His background was that he had been a monk at the Sun Soul monastery in Silverymoon, but such a pain in the neck to the rest of the order that he was essentially given a suicide mission: scout out the heart of Cormanthor, write up your findings, and return it to us. This was before Cormanthor was cleared of demon-spawn and was teeming with them and drow. Dreygar, while being fairly saavy, still hadn't figured out that they were just trying to get rid of him.
Journal warning: There were two journals being kept during these games. One a rather dry journal tallying the various events and loot picked up kept by one of the other players and then mine for flavor. Dreygar's journal is written from the first person and Dreygar really has absolutely no clue what is going on in terms of the campaign or even the party -- I didn't bother remembering the rest of the party's names until game 4. He joined late and was either too apathetic or drunk to find out any details. Fortunately for readers (or unfortunately as the case may be), Dreygar only made entries into his journal when sober.
Campaign warning: Quite a few atrocities were commited to the realms in this campaign. This was the DM's first foray into the Realms and I really didn't want to correct him, so grind your teeth a bit when you read some geographical, technological, or political anomaly.
The Journals of Dreygar Magdasson,
5th circle initiate of the order of Sun Soul Monks
Having no firm grasp of the date, I shall simply dub this day 127 of my journey.
This is my third journal since embarking on my expedition to the heart of the Cormanthor forest. My first journal was lost approximately 5 ten days ago when I was forced to make a hasty exit from a cave I had thought to be unoccupied. Waking in the embrace of an owl-bear was a bit of a surprise and unfortunately I was forced to make a bit too hasty a retreat from my shelter. My second journal was seized by my drow captors several days ago and I have not been able to recover it even after a thorough search.
First of all, I would like to make it quite clear that regardless of the advice I was given at the onset of my expedition, having some form of training in orientation, navigation, and/or wilderness survival would have made this journey more enjoyable and most definitely shorter and safer. It may be true that one can live off the land, but I will maintain that one has to be patient enough to allow the bounty of the land to ferment. Fortunately for me, there have been obliging merchants, inn keepers, and farmers willing to sell and share the fruits of their patience with me.
I would recount the trip here in detail, but my memory would do a disservice to the travails I overcame. Allow me to summarize: It was a long and arduous journey that rarely followed a straight line, but instead took me through every patch of brambles, monster lair, insect hive, and bandit encampment within 300 miles of the route I should have been on, culminating with my arival in Myth Dranor and capture by angry, but well-groomed, drow.
I was taken prisoner by a band of over 20 drow. They spoke only their own language and seized my rucksack of belongings. Finding no weapons upon me other than my sling they bound and gagged me and proceeded to do a very thorough and uncalled for cavity search. Finding nothing further they beat me unconscious and hauled me off. I awoke within a stone cell, my rucksack returned with only my most recent journal missing. Seeing that I had few options available to me, I did what any sane man would do in my position and proceeded to get incredibly drunk on the last of my wine reserves. Some time during my revelry I heard a new arrival deposited in a nearby cell. From his cursing, I took him to be an elf.
Several wine skins later I became aware that something was amiss. Staring through the bars of my cell I was greeted by a band of what could only be adventurers. A stout dwarven warrior, a halfling footpad, an elven wizard, and a half-drow with a pet wolf and puma proceeded to release me from my cell and question me about the nature of my incarceration. Not wishing to seem ungrateful for my release, I told them all I knew and proceeded to jo
urney with them. We released the elven priest a cell over from mine and proceeded up the stairway.
The band explained that they were sailors in search of an ancient artifact taken by the drow that inhabited this tower. While their manner of dress and the fact that we were hundreds of miles from the closest sea made me skeptical of the former, their serious countenance left little doubt that they were here with a purpose. They further explained that my cell was on the 5th floor of the tower and that the monstrous unions of drow and spiders inhabited the basement of the tower. Having now seen these half-spiders it is my opinion that the spiders that birthed them must have been quite large and their drow fathers must have been incredibly drunk.
Deciding to throw my luck in with this band of hearties, I proceeded to aid them in clearing their way to the throne room atop the tower. The drow sitting upon the throne was quite dissheveled, but obviously quite old and powerful. When we arrived he was engaged in an animated conversation with what appeared to be a human merchant that my rescuers seemed to know. At the culmination of the conversation, the merchant proceeded to change shape into a moderately large red dragon and acknowledged our presence. He seemed to know me and the elven priest as well and said that he figured we would be showing up about now. Regardless of this statement, I maintain that I have never seen this dragon in either of the two forms displayed.
The drow leader was named Drazt (he was kind enough to spell this out for me). I attempted to convince him that he was outmatched, in desperate need of restaffing his tower, and should simply walk away with his band of bodyguards while he still had the option, but he respectfully declined. Needless to say a fight broke out and the remaining drow, along with their leader were all dispatched.
* * * * *
Arbitrarily day 137 of my journey from Silverymoon
With the death of Drazt, we proceeded to rest and leisurely search his body. The crown he wore seemed very nice (if a bit gaudy) and he possessed two magical rings -- one gold and the other silver. A secret door was discovered below his throne, leading to what we assumed would be a treasure trove and the resting place of the artifact the party sought.
The nimble halfling (also known as Captain) opened this secret door and we proceeded down the narrow stairway into a poison gas trap of little consequence. When we reached the bottom of the stairs we discovered a huge horn on a pedestal guarded by two elves in elaborate plate mail. I half-heartedly attempted to convince them that we were their relief, but they did not fall for this ruse. I then suggested that they surrender in order to avoid the same fate the other drow in the tower had met. At this point they attacked. Obviously, my powers of persuasion need work.
With the two guards dead as foreseen, we went to work. The halfling, with much effort and cursing, managed to wedge the horn into a magical sack much smaller than the horn itself. The elven cleric stripped one of the guards of his platemail and donned it -- it was a perfect fit. The dwarven fighter, upon hearing that the armor was magical attempted to wear the other suit of armor, but it was sadly not up to the epic task of circling his prodigious girth. With our goal in hand we rested yet again so that the spell casters could mumble, mutter, and stare off into space in order to launch yet more volleys of healing and destruction.
The dwarven warrior unlocked the locked door beneath the throne with a mace and we proceeded to search the rest of the tower. All that remained however was the crown of the broken spire which had been converted into an archer's roost. It was very obvious that this tower was once much taller and had in some way been broken in two. Once we had a chance to enjoy the vista, we decided to leave and head back to the wild elves who had sent the party off on this expedition.
The journey went without mishap, largely due to the guidance of the half-drow druid who seemed to have the remarkable ability of knowing where he was going and how to avoid places he didn't want to go.
The wild elves live a rustic life without the amenities of civilization such as tax-collectors, sheriffs, pick-pockets, prostitution, or town drunks. While we missed the girls, we happily provided the drunks. The elves seemed very happy to receive the horn. In return they paid us with several casks of fine beer and and some elven wine -- a trade that I am sure was far from equitable, but suited me just fine. They mentioned something about the horn being useful in the upcoming war. I intend to look further into who or what will be fighting in this war at my first opportunity.
The elves seemed rather dismayed with the appearance of our druid. They whisked him away and two days later, he returned sober, sore all over, and looking like an elf. His armor had changed from the menacing black it had been to bulls-eye red -- his apparent former appearance had been returned to him. With his return the group prepared to return to their ship loaded down with elven trade goods and the elven cleric and myself in tow.
Our wizard had identified the two rings. The silver one increased a wizard's spell casting abilities and the gold one helped its owner avoid damage in combat. The wizard of course kept the silver one and I was rewarded with the gold one for my efforts. I'll have to find some way of smudging it so that it doesn't attract the attemtion of a thief. I was also given some magical boots from our druid that also make one harder to hit.
Sailing upon the Moonsea was glorious. We were bound for the port town of Thentia, having promised to return to the wild elves within two months. Undoubtedly our captain will be able to turn a tidy profit from wartime profiteering. The elves will most likely require steel and other ores needed for crafting weapons and armor. I was directed to the top of the rigging of the ship and spent very little time elsewhere. During our journey the biggest fish I have ever seen chased us for several miles, but we fortunately managed to outrun it.
The town of Thentia lies in the distance, a small black grease-stain on the coast. We shall see what wonders lay in store.
* * * * *
day 148 of my journey from Silverymoon
I have managed to steal a moment of lucidity and I now dedicate it to continuing these journals. Even though it will be very unlikely that these journals will serve their original intent.
We arrived in the port town of Thentia several days back pursued by an enormous fish. We docked and paid to have the ship watched over by a most competent harbormaster. As we attempted to get our land legs back and get directions to the nearest pub our Captain was invited to a private meeting later that eve.
Thentia is a quaint town, in that the streets don't run with blood, the gory remains of criminals don't hang for public viewing, and more people seem to do business during daylight hours than at night. It's skyline is dominated by an enormous temple to Umberlee which wouldn't bode well, but for this being a port town. There appears to be a strong thieves guild presence in Thentia, the muggers of the town do little to conceal their activities and most victims simply shrug it off as an every-day occurence. This leads me to consider carrying two purses of cash -- one for the light-fingered and one for anything of real value. Tarnishing my new ring has become an even higher priority.
We were referred to three bars and chose the more upscale of the three as a good location to unload the elven wine we hoped to sell. The bartender there was incredibly pleased to hear we had managed to avoid the fish-blockade on the town and even more pleased to hear we had several casks of elven wine to unload. We sold him 5 of our 6 barrels for a tidy profit and free drinks for the rest of the evening -- we made him regret his decision with the vast quantities of beer we managed to knock back. He also managed to refer us to several of the city's smiths and outfitters.
During the binge our Captain slipped out and returned many hours later. He seemed to have a spring in his step and he appeared to be taller, perhaps 3 feet 7 inches now. He informed us all that he was now officially a dread pirate. Not being too keen on maritime conventions I still am not certain how this differentiates him from other pirates, but he seems to be quite proud. Perhaps it means he can purchase pirate flags, eye-patches, and prosthetic limbs wholesale now. He also now sports a very small monkey as his latest fashion accessory.
The Cleric and our two fighters also stepped out to investigate the temple. It would seem that the temple is not open to tourism late at night, especially when the tourists rely upon each other to walk steadily. Our cleric companion later informed us that the temple belongs to Umberlee, the Bitch Queen, vengeful overseer of misfortune at sea. I shall have to remember to make a small offering the next time we put out to sea to encourage her to overlook any of my naval transgressions.
Finally, a small eastern looking man came and sat beside me and proceeded to tell me the wildest of stories. It would seem that this man, Zin, is also a monk of the Sun Soul order, but one who belongs to a very different branch. He proclaimed himself to be a drunken master who had followed me from Silverymoon through Cormanthor, and finally to Thentia. He explained that I had been hand-chosen to join his branch of monks. He explained that within the Sun Soul Order there have always been those of extra-ordinary temperment who posess a slightly different out-look on life than the rest of the order and so do better under a different training regime. I understood this to mean that his branch oversees the wash-outs and ne'er do wells and I had just been chosen as the next recruit.
He further explained that my mission of utmost importance, the reconnaissance of Myth Dranor, had merely been a ruse to get me out of the hair of the rest of the brotherhood. While such a slanderous statement may have once been met with outrage from myself, this merely echoes what several others along my journeys have tried to tell me. It would seem that not only was I the butt of the monastary's joke, but they had found it so amusing that they had passed the word along so far and wide that even the wild elves in Elventree sniggered at me when I guardedly referred to my mission. With Zim confirming my fears, I would now like to heartily invite the Sun Soul Monastary of Silverymoon and all who reside within to kindly **** off.
Zin explained that I was to become the next drunken master and he was to be my teacher. His lessons spanned enough days that I lost count. During every waking moment I was forced to drink his own special blend of "rice wine", which I am quite certain was nothing more than fermented horse piss. Our training consisted of me downing as much of this rice wine as my stomach would hold and then him beating the snot out of me. My only respite was unconsciousness during which I am certain he continued forcing rice wine down my throat through the use of a funnel. Eventually I was able to begin defending myself and finally could do much better. I wouldn't say I fight better drunk now than I do when sober, but I have learned to fight much better than I ever could drunk.
Once I reached this state of drunken equilibrium I was allowed to rejoin my companions. I learned that our druid had used his time to figuratively hack out his own patch of forest and call it his grove. It is not quite clear whether this will mean extended shore leave for him so that he can tend to his poseys and extracting retribution (or at least taxation) upon those who would lumber in and around his grove, but he seems quite pleased with his land aquisition.
The local Duke, Duke Earl, invited us to his abode to grant us a hero's welcome (something that is a step or two more polite than an arson's welcome in a town). He proceeded to try to convince us that he had total control of his town, then demanded a ludicrous tax for harboring our ship, and then whined that he had no power over the local rogues of his town. I was able to suggest that through killing off the fish that plagued the town we should be granted at least a year of tax-free residence which he granted. He further asked that we attempt to intervene with the local thieves guild to take him within their fold. The captain, now a dread pirate, felt that he had some measure of influence and said he would see what he could do.
Upon leaving the duke's we were confronted by a mountain of a man who carefully (in small words) explained that we were in over our heads and should not involve ourselves in the political infrastructures of the town. It was clear that someone is quite happy with the situation and would not like us to muck around with the current state of affairs. I think I shall have to suggest to the Captain that he speak to the thieves, lay all his cards on the table, and suggest that the Duke be allowed to join the guild as the rankest of initiates, forced to work his way up whatever twisted hierarchy they may possess. This will allow us to have at least lived up to our words to the duke, will give the thieves the upper hand when it comes to the duke, removes the problem from our shoulders completely, and should be good for quite a few laughs in darkened taverns. I look forward to the day that the aristocracy mugs me rather than levies a fine -- at least it will be less dishonest.
We set sail in order to find and destroy the fish. Our ship was flying the skull and crossbones, but for some reason the skull seemed inordinately small. Perhaps the Captain will have to work up the ranks of dread pirate in order to fly a full-sized skull. Regardless of his skull size though, the Captain was able to unerringly take us to where the fish was and we prepared to do battle. The entire fight was over very soon. Between our dwarf's cannoneering, the hurled electricity and flames of our wizard, and the harpooning skills of Shin the fish was slain quite quickly. Our wizard managed to place a wall of ice in front of the fish before it rammed the boat and Shin, the cleric, and myself boarded the fish and brought the battle to him. However, I found that punching a fish as big as a galleon seems to do very little to it. We quickly abandoned fish when it began its death rattle and were able to stick enough harpoons in it to drag it back to docks.
As I write this journal, I sit in the crows nest, a four-hundred foot long fish being pulled behind the ship, and we are preparing to dock to what we assume will be another hero's welcome. Ideally there will be a lot of ale.
Return to Campaign Logs