Logo courtesy Wizards of the Coast

The Nentir Vale is a campaign setting provided to new players of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition. It’s present in the Red Box and most of the starting materials. For a party almost all completely new to D&D and a DM re-familiarizing himself with the latest edition, it’s a great place to start a campaign. This will be an ongoing recollection of what happens to the party as they make their way through the Nentir Vale. Enjoy.

Trade caravans often travel the King’s Road in the Nentir Vale. With bandits, wild animals and monsters roaming unchecked throughout the countryside, traders attempting to bring much needed goods to the town of Fallcrest and beyond often welcome the company of adventurers. They’re not always paid, but even the most inexperienced sword or spell can ward off unwanted attention.

This was the situation on a sunny afternoon. Traevus, a wagonmaster coming north through Harkenwood, had a few young adventurers with him when his wagon was beset by goblins. The adventurers sprang to his defense and managed to drive the goblins off. A distant rider shook his fist in contempt of his failed minions and rode off. None of the travelers was seriously hurt. However, a valuable box was stolen from Traevus’ wagon, and he commissioned the adventurers to bring it back.

Andrasian wasn’t about to let thieves escape without facing justice. He also was looking forward to not being so close to so many humans. Their city-folk ways put him a bit ill at ease. He was a warrior of the wilds, and his simple greatsword thirsted for more blood of the wicked.

“Like my Dalish character in Dragon Age, but with a Y chromosome and actually nice to some people.” – Mike, Andy’s player

Melanie Good-Melons, on the other hand, couldn’t care less what the goblins stole or why. The offer of payment, however, persuaded her to join the party. A seer had seen Mel as an infant and predicted both her arcane inclination and her voluptuous body shape. Not one to hide her assets, Mel made it a point to wonder why Lyria wore such tight, dark leather. “The body is something that should be cherished,” she said, “instead of hidden in disgrace.”

“A magically voluptuous freelance adventurer with a taste for danger and minimal coverage.” – Eric, Mel’s player

Lyria, for her part, didn’t want these goblins giving honest thieves like her a bad name. Stealing from a fat nobleman who pissed on the peasantry was one thing, but stealing the goods of a struggling merchant just trying to make it as far as Fallcrest? She wasn’t having any of that. A lithe halfling that moved like a dancer and always had a dagger handy, Lyria seemed interested in the adventure as much for helping Traevus as for the promise of treasure.

“Think Bayonetta, only three feet tall.” – my comment on Danielle’s description of Lyria

The three interrogated one of the remaining goblins. Before expiring, the goblin confessed to the rather intimidating elf asking the questions that he came from a ruined, half-buried temple deep in the woods. Andrasian lead the ladies down the indicated path without incident. They came across the ruin and made their way inside, finding two corridors leading into the rock. They chose one and came across a surprise.

Instead of goblins, the trio encountered a cadre of kobolds wandering the halls of a section of the temple. The kobolds chatted amongst themselves as to how to deal with the intruders. Not wanting to betray that she speaks the language of dragons, Lyria kept quiet as Andrasian asked to be taken to their leader. The kobolds’ master turned out to be, rather than the disgruntled rider, a fledgling white dragon named Farallax.

Farallax told the trio that he saw the temple as his, and the human who they’d seen, Malareth, was an intruder. If they drove Malareth and his goblin cohorts out, he’d reward them. Considering he was both sitting on a pile of treasure and looked poised to wipe the floor with the party if they refused, the adventurers agreed. The dragon pointed to a door that would take them to Malareth.

Beyond the dragon’s lair was a storage area where goblins milled about. The trio sprang into action. Andrasian met the goblins head-on, Lyria snuck and danced around the fight looking for the best angle at which to stab a given opponent, and magic missiles flew from Mel’s fingertips. A hulking bugbear with a nasty-looking greataxe entered the fray. It took a coordinated effort between the three adventurers to deal with the captain of Malareth’s guard, but despite being bloodied and bruised, Andrasian found the heft of the bugbear’s axe rather satisfying, resolving to take it with him.

Malareth’s lair was a dark laboratory full of bubbling vials, moldy books and a few skeletal servants. Out of the corner lumbered a stitched-together monstrosity, a huge zombie that was not likely to fit through a standard door. Malareth dismissively told his servants to deal with the intruders. Mel’s spells kept the zombie at bay, pushing it back and causing it to tear the arm from one of Malareth’s skeletons in its rage. Andrasian’s new axe hewed into bone. Lyria played with her opponents, often slipping in for the killing blow as the fighter’s strength put them off-balance. Malareth’s dark powers often froze the adventurers in their tracks and repaired the damage to his minions. For a while, the fight could have gone either way.

Then Lyria leaped onto the shoulders of the zombie and stabbed it in the base of the skull, severing the connection between its rotting brain and animated muscles. The beast toppled to the floor in a heap of body parts, the magic animating it draining away and its stitches coming undone. Malareth stood alone against the party, and despite his affinity for the magic of death, he was no match for them. Melanie eagerly claimed his staff for her own.

The box that had been stolen from Traevus sat on the necromancer’s table. It contained an immaculate skull that radiated dark energy. The trio discussed the possible ramifications of this on their way out. Farallax thanked them for taking care of the pesky human, reached into his pile of gold and treasure, and pulled out a suit of leathers for Lyria. The party found their way back to Traevus, who explained the artifact was being taken to a monastery deep in the mountains where it could be destroyed or, at the very least, kept safe.

Satisfied for now with that explanation and paid for their service, the trio of adventures kept the rest of the trip incident-free all the way to Fallcrest…

Next: A dwarf “fortress”, the town of Fallcrest and a sparkly cleric.

All locations, NPCs, spells and equipment copyright Wizards of the Coast unless otherwise noted.