A D&D inspired Story

 A few months ago I became obsessed with a tabletop game called "Dungeons and Dragons". If you don't know it, it is a game in which you develop your own character to play and go on adventures with your friends. Depending on how you want to play it, it can rely heavily on story, roleplay or combat - or all three. You are thrown into a fantay world in which you can do pretty much anything you want... or at least, attempt to. Because unlike children's games of make-belief, in this game all actions have realistic consequences. To determine these, you roll some dice.

Exactly these versatile scenarios and unplannable outcomes intrigued me as a writer. What if I would create some characters, throw them in a tavern and then, just based on rolling dice, determine if what they would attempt to do succeeds. I would definetely loose a fair share of my control of the plot and essential structure of the story and would have to learn how to write scenarios that I never intended to happen.

So I did it. I created some characters according to "Dungeons and Dragons", so I can use those rules in the background, and started writing with no particular story in mind - for now. 

This project is in most parts not only inspired, but based on this tabletop game. I don't want to steal the work of those who created that game - I definetly don't intend to and won't make any profit sharing this story on my Blog here. I just want to try this idea and see if a story or book will also be read and liked if the story wasn't preplanned by the writer in great detail beforehand, weaving things like hidden messages and foreshadowing inside. And also to see: can a good story be driven by entirely the desicions and actions of the characters? In this experiment, I want to immerse in my characters and see what they would do, instead of what I, as a writer, would want them to do. Also welcoming faliure in tasks I really need them to succeed in and verse visa. 

Also, this is not supposed to be advertisement, noone asked me to write this and I definetely don't get paid by anyone. Think of this story as a fanfiction of "Dungeons and Dragons" (5e, specifically), that I am writing alone (with the help of a more experienced D&D enthusiast).

Starting with this prologue introducing the 6 main characters and adventurers, I will try my best to upload the following chapters on this Blog (hopefully with a nice name for the group as a title, suggestions in the comments are welcomed, you don't need to sign up with anyting to leave a comment here as far as I know) one chapter every week or every 2 weeks on Tuesday afternoon/evening-ish (I am a busy student having to learn latin I am sorry if it takes longer sometimes).

Now, let's dive right in! I hope you enjoy it.

Theiastra (High Elf), Ownka (Half-Orc), Riven (Human), Dagnal (Dwarf), Andell (Human), Kairon (Tiefling)


They meet in a Tavern

It is a spacious, warm tavern room with a long bar- behind it is a vast display of liquor bottles of all kinds - and a couple of tables scattered in the room. There is a big entrance door, next to the only, big window showing a busy street, and a smaller back door next to where the bar ends. In that corner is also a staircase that leads up to the rooms where most of the guests spend the night after arriving in this town.
It is fairly early in the morning, so there are just a couple of customers lingering around and a young barmaid, drawing beer for the cloaked human man at the bar and silently judging him for drinking so early in the morning. 

As he gets his beer he is then turning, sipping it, so you can see a lean but mature face, with high cheekbones and a stylish mustache and beard on the small chin. His skin has a dark tan and the dark brown hair is loosely curly, but short and unevenly cut. His eyes are a glittering ocean blue. If it weren't for the old looking, ragged clothes with dirt on them, you would find him as handsome as a lord. His clothes are all very dark but give a hint to a more wealthy past, as they don’t look like a beggar’s clothes, but just old and frequently used. And he turns around with his beer, kinda lying his arms on the bar, resting his back on its edge, having one leg casually on the other. Almost looks like he owns the place - or at least thinks so. He then proceeds to glancing at the other people in the tavern, really trying to figure them out. 

There is a woman sitting alone at a tiny table, enjoying a huge, savory breakfast. She is very small, but stout and the wrinkles around her brown eyes give her a mature look and make it clear that she is in fact a grown dwarven woman. Her naturally red hair is bound up in a very carefully braided crown, she seems to have mastered that technique. Her face is all in all very round, with a pointy nose that has a few freckles over it. She is wearing a simple shirt, and over that a knitted cardigan in dark blue wool and pants tucked into very stable boots. A little pouch dangles from her belt. She points her hand up, to call the barmaid: “Young lady, can I please get another cup of black tea?”
“Yes of course”, the girl answers and goes off to set another kettle on the fire.
While doing so, the dwarf draws the attention of the other people in the tavern to her as well.

One of them is a half-orc woman with ashen skin that has a purple undertone. Her prominent jaw and a bit of an underbite gives space for two fangs on her lower teeth. She has piercings on one of her slightly pointy ears, the side of her nose and one of her bushy but well grown, arched eyebrows. Her build is strong, due to her orcish bone structure and if not for the small waist and thick black hair, braided on the side of her head, you could mistake her for a man. Well, and also she has the most beautiful eyes they have ever seen. She is dressed in a chain mail and has her great axe on her back, like she is expecting a fight any minute. While she is reading in a little book she bites in a bit of bread, then puts a crum in the pocket of her leather vest at her chest. 
She does not sit far from the man at the bar, who is now looking at her. She notices and glances back with her piercing green eyes.

"You live in the town?", she asks him. 
"I do", he answers, unsure how to approach her. His expression seems to be stuck in between courageously flirtatious and awkwardly intimidated.
"Know it good?" 
He grins now, at her strong accent, and replies: "Like my own house" then he fumbles with some dice, upon closer look they seem to be bone dice. "Wanna play?" 
The Half-orc seems to be slightly irritated. "I just wanna know a place." 
The man gave a little chuckle. "I can help you with that…. Let's play a round first. Or you can give me a little bit of beer money just like that. What do you say?" 
He put up his hands in the air, one with the beer now slightly spilling over, as if to surrender. "Hey, ain't nothing for free in this town" 
The woman thought about the offer for a little while, then put her book away and waved him over to her table. He immediately sits down enthusiastically, sighing in content.
He puts the dice on the table, hesitates for a bit, then reaches out with his hand, it has very short fingernails with a lot of dirt underneath and now the woman can smell that he hadn't had a shower in weeks. That doesn't bother the orc woman though, she was on the road for a while as well and upon that is very used to strong smells. His smell reminds her of a goat.
"Riven" he introduced himself. 
"Ownka" she said and slapped his hand hard, giving it one strong shake. 

The dwarven woman, who just returned her empty plates at the bar, giving the barmaid a polite nod, now comes over to the table with her cup of tea, looking more like a mug in her hand. 
"Hullo”, she says melodically, “I would like to know a bit about this town as well, if you don't mind. If this game can be played with three people, of course."
Riven gives her a stern look up and down, then grins again and pushes the third chair out with his foot. 
"Oh well this is a good day for business! Sure, madame, sit down", then turning to Ownka, "if you don't mind, that is."
Ownka shakes her head. 
“My name is Dagnal, by the way.”
“A pleasure to meet you”, Dagnal says, mostly out of courtesy.

Riven then begins shaking the dice very well, while explaining the game. 
"So first you put your bet in the pot, everyone gets 3 dice each and rolls them, secretly from each other. It goes like this: a triplet is the best you can get, then a duet, followed by a high street, then low street, and then higher roll wins. After you rolled you can change ONE die by putting in another coin of what you originally bet. Then we all show our rolls and see who is the winner. All clear?"
"I think it is clear enough. If there are two triplets, the higher number wins, right?" 
Ownka makes a long "hmmm" then is like: "so we roll the dice, hidden, and higher roll wins?" 
"basically…" Riven answers, slightly confused. 
"You can change one die with money as well", Dagnal explains kindly. 
Ownka still seems a bit confused but just goes with it. “Okay.”
"Okay, ladies how much should we play for? Let’s say... one silver piece for starters.”
Ownka seems worried “I don't have much, I’ll play for 5 copper”
"Well, I guess that will be enough" 
Both agree, each puts one silver piece in the middle of the table and then gets 3 dice each, rolling them in secret.
Ownka rolls 5, 5, 6; Dagnal 1, 2, 5; and Riven 3 ,4, 4.
“I'll take this”, Ownka says.
“I’ll go ahead and change one.” Dagnal puts in 5 more copper, hoping for a street, and rerolls the 5 to a 5 again and frowns a little. 
While that is going on, Riven attempts to sleight-of-hand a triple 4. He succeeds without them noticing, even though Dagnal is keeping an eye on him, knowing to be careful around townsfolk that like to play dice, he just gets the right timing while she is distracted with her own roll.
“Three fours win over the two fives. Seems like it is my lucky day!” Riven puts the additional silver and 5 copper pieces in his hidden pouch. "Well that was fun. Where should I take you?”
“Was about to look around for supplies first, but basically I am looking for a specific person.”
“And what kind of person would that be?”
“He is very well known to be a gang leader in this town.”
“A gang leader?” Riven looks at her, estimating. “And what would a lady such as yourself want from such a person?”
“I just want to ask a few questions but that really is none of your business now, is it, young man.”
“Hmm… I see” Riven makes out that this is about some of their shady business, but he can’t estimate more. “And you, Ownka? What can I help you with?”
“I want to find the place for the job”, she answers and shows him a piece of parchment, a notice from the notice board.
It is from a local brewery asking for help with a transport of fine wine.
“Ahhh the Brewing Kettle! I know where that is veeery well.”

Just then they are being distracted by the sweet sound of an elven flute, coming from the middle table of the tavern. They can see a young looking elven woman in a fine, flowy and embroidered dress. Its yellow color shines golden against her bronze skin and her sky-blue,sort of whitish hair frames her delicate face, the eyes closed and concentrating on the music. While gambling they did not notice her coming in with the lightest footsteps. After a sweet, short melody she puts down the flute, opens her golden eyes and turns towards the players. 
"Oh I am sorry to have interrupted your play, I play my music here regularly and I am just warming up for today's performance."
"Don't you worry, dear, you played beautifully", the dwarven woman says.
The elf smiled elegantly and bowed her head a bit in thanks. 
Riven makes some flirty eyes at her. “You look as beautiful as ever.”
She seems a bit disgusted at that and tries to ignore it.

In that moment another figure comes down the stairs, fully cloaked with a hood on despite being inside. Their features are hidden, but it can be seen that they are tall, and with the flowy cloak almost reaching the floor, appearing slimmer than they really are. The only noticeable feature is the long, blonde hair peeking out the hood of the noble looking cloak that is embezzled with pearls and jewels around the neck. 
The barmaid greets him immediately. “Would you like some breakfast, sir?”
“No, I-”

Before they can finish their sentence, a strange figure barges into the tavern room. It is a dark red, black haired Tiefling with one broken horn, wearing black armor. He is drawing a black blade with a bone and dragonscale grip from his back, pointing it towards the girl. “Where is the owner?”
The girl begins to shake, almost crying. “I-in the b-backroom”
“Get him here! NOW!”
The girl leaves running, almost tripping over her own feet.

The cloaked figure comes forward, showing the palm of his hand to the young looking Tiefling. “Hey, hey, lower your weapon. What is this about?”
The cloak being very persuasive, the Tiefling actually lowers his weapon a bit. “I am not doing anything wrong. He owes us.”
The Human glances at him, thoroughly. “I get the feeling you want to harm him. I hope you have good reason for this. If not, I’ll have to intervene.” And takes a slow step back. Then talking to himself they go: “I can’t let the inkeep die on me and lose my room here.”

Just now, the owner of the tavern comes up behind the bar, hushing the girl away. She closes the door and locks herself in the back room. He also is a Tiefling. One with thick, inwards curling horns like the ones of a very old ram, entirely white eyes and - ironically- a white goatee, his skin the deepest brown, like black coffee.
Before even having seen the entirety of the situation, upon first glance at the sword he goes, with a stern grandfather-y voice: “What is this about? Put away your weapon, we don’t tolerate this here!”
The Tiefling takes a step back, surprised and speechless. They can see his eyes going wide, his hands trembling, lowering the sword almost to the ground as if it has suddenly become very heavy. 
“You are a fellow Tiefling, I see.” He brings up his hands to his sides, his chest growing wider with pride. “I welcome you here, in Akmenos’ Hell’s Inn.”

In this little break, they can hear faint crying from the back room and everyone in the taproom tenses.

“You owe us. You had enough time to repay your debt”, the Tiefling stutters slightly.
The Inkeep’s tail starts flicking back and forth nervously, like the one of a cat before it strikes. He crosses his arms in front of his chest, taking a defensive stance. “I don’t remember owing anyone anything. Who do you work for? Was it you who has been standing in front of my Tavern the whole morning?”
The Tieflings eyes close for a moment, he is thinking to himself, and when they open they grow blacker than before, he brings the blade up and mumbles something in a foreign, deep language that only the Inkeep should understand.
The only word the elven woman can make out is “Loviatar”.
He turns back to the Inkeep stating, still stuttering: “I am terribly sorry to inform you that I’ll have to kill you now, since you have misused our trust and to complete my work. Furthermore I’ll need to behead you and” he pulls forward a little paper stuck in his belt, looking at it like a bad actor who forgot his lines “and will also take your heart and liver.” Then he takes a stance ready to charge, points his blade at the other tiefling, sighs slightly “here we go” and pushes forward.
In that moment Andell casts a spell as quickly as he can, attempting to form a magic shield around the Inkeep. But the time was too little to finish the spell.

“What the fuck?!” Riven exclaims in shock.
The elven woman sinks in her chair, covering her face. 
Dagnal jumps up from her seat, as good as she can being a little short for it. Ownka too, sending her chair three meters back before it tumbles over.

Not only the chair, also the Tiefling then misplaces one of his feet, causing him to trip and tumble over as well. The people in the tavern are left with quiet astonishment and misbelief.
Just now Andell’s shield forms around the Inkeep, protecting him from further harm.

Dagnal and Ownka try to push him on the ground, Dagnal arrives first and sits on him.
Kai tries to get up, but Dagnal keeps him down with her weight. 
“This is none of your business, let me go”, he says.
Riven agrees. “Yeah, just fuck him who cares.”
Dagnal slowly begins to lift her weight.
“But you attack him again?” Ownka asks.
“Come on, let’s talk this out in private”, Akmenos suggests, “one Tiefling to another. This might just be a misunderstanding.”
“Shouldn’t we give him to the police”, Dagnal wants to know.

Unsure what to do, Riven drinks the rest of his beer and sets the mug back on the table. “Okay, I guess it is time to leave.” And to the two women he says: “Let’s go, I’m gonna show you your places.”
“No”, Ownka says, “we can’t leave” and points towards the red Tiefling.
“Yes”, Dagnal agrees, “we have to make sure that everything is okay here first.”
“But why? These people have nothing to do with us”, the man protests.
“You don’t leave without us, guide”, Ownka almost threatens.
The man sits down again and sighs.

“Thank you all, the help is much appreciated”, the Inkeep says earnestly. “But I am afraid that this is a matter between us Tieflings.”
“Do you know him then? It didn’t seem like it”, the mage asks.
“Well… no, not exactly…”
“Well, then it seems, a crime was committed and we are all witnesses”, Dagnal points out.
The red Tiefling mutters something in a foreign language again. “It was not a crime”
The brown-haired human agrees absentmindedly “technically, just an attempted one.”
“Dear people, please understand that I wish to get to the bottom of this myself”, the Inkeep suggests, “He is a brother of my blood nonetheless and thus I have mercy upon him. The authorities will only see his kind and not the true colours of his actions. When they judge him, they will be harsh. I believe we can sort this out like this just fine.”
“He just wanted to kill you!” The elven woman now shouts out from behind everyone, her eyes still wide in shock.
“Fair point”, the mage agrees. “it was pretty obvious”
“But you don’t know all of the story, do you?”
The mage thinks for a bit. “Also fair point, Inkeep.”
“Please, call me Akmenos.”
“Fair point, Akmenos.”
“Well, you are the victim of this crime”, Dagnal points out, “I think you have the right to decide if you want to press charges. I would sure like to.”
“If you would just hear me out, gentleladies and men, I don’t think this was his doing alone.”
“So… you suggest he took a job from someone?”, Riven asks reluctantly.
Akmenos seems to remember something just then “Ah”, he goes to the door and knocks slightly, “Kelly, you can come out, it is safe now. I’ll get you to the door, you can take the day off.”
The girl named Kelly, unlocks the door and steps out very hesitantly. Akmenos escorts her to the front door, not letting her see the other Tiefling, he kinda signals the guests to get in front of him, and Dagnal, the elven woman and the mage hide him with their bodies. The Inkeep then locks the front door, turns around and claps his hands together. “Well, this seems like a fun little group.”
“We’re not a group, if anything we’d be a therapy group”, the brown-haired man chuckles sarcastically, playing with his dice.
Akmenos decides to ignore that comment. “Should we get to know each other?”
“My name is Riven and I am an alcoholic”, he goes on.

To be continued with their first little adventure...

Help me improve the writing of this story by filling out -> this poll (you don't have to sign up or anything)

Check out a free version of the game you can start playing with (just download the PDF on the site, it is free) -> here

I'll also link the full core rulebook on the dungeons&dragons website (for credits) -> here

And to keep track of my characters I use the free website -> dnd Beyond (where you can create a basic account for free and also check out the free version of the game)

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