The sound of dripping water could be heard, common, so far, throughout their delve into the ruined tower’s bowels.
Starlight, the halfling thief, slowly pulled the wooden door open, dust falling off the hinges as if it had not been used in ages. She created a small crack, with no intention of swinging the door open to its entire, so that Alina could just peer inside.
An unknown source of rot assaulted the halfling’s small nose. Perhaps it was from the old papers and books, wet with mildew, that the half-elf saw scattered about the floor of the room?
Shambling slowly, in the middle of the former library, two walking corpses moved about. Their skin pulled tight against their bones; chunks of flesh missing from various sections of their arms, legs and torsos.
Their soulless eyes, teaming with worms, not seeming to have noticed the two.
Then they saw the ghoul.
Sue: Great, now they know we’re here.
Kay: It wasn’t on purpose!
DM: Okay, even though you guys are not in combat, we are going to treat this as if you were. It’s straight initiative, since they’ve obviously been alerted. So, go ahead and just tell me what you guys want to do, keeping in mind that this is going to be done round by round. I’ll keep track of what is going on behind the door, round by round as well, so everything syncs up. Alright?
They traveled all the way back to Eastbrook with the idea to “get help.” I went with it, but in my head I was thinking, It’s just a two room dungeon crawl.
What the hell is going on?
Once in Eastbrook, Alina sat by the fountain in the town square, while Starlight burst through the doors of the Winter Wolf tavern with news of a ghoul at an old ruined tower.
Passing by the barmaid, she headed straight for the only occupied table.
Sitting at the table near the unlit fireplace were two dwarves, the red-bearded blacksmith Rhen and Galem, his braided brown beard dripping ale.
Galem cocked an eyebrow at Starlight, while Rhen looked into his mug as if he was questioning his alcohol intake. Was it causing the image of this halfling, standing at the edge of their table, and demanding attention?
It was like opposite day in Greyhawk. The NPCs are in a tavern and suddenly a desperate PC comes through the door to give them a quest. What the fuck?
Starlight: We need your help!
Galem (looking around the tavern): We?
Starlight: My friend Alina is outside.
Rhen (to the barmaid): Another flagon should do it.
Starlight: Are you guys even listening to me?
Galem (laughing): I hear you, little one. So, where is this tower you’re talking about?
Starlight: It’s in the forest. We can take you there. My father is missing and I think he was captured by a ghoul.
Sue: Or killed.
Kay: Be quiet, Sue. You’re not even in the tavern.
Rhen had a commission to take care of at his smithy, but Starlight was eventually successful in persuading Galem to come along with them.
This was not determined by any dice rolls.
I was reluctant to have an NPC accompany them at this stage. Henchmen and hirelings are fine, when appropriate, but this was baby’s first dungeon crawl. Even an elf could handle this.
I was eventually convinced by the way she was role playing Starlight’s conversation with the two dwarves.
She agreed to meet him at the fountain the next morning, since the sun would be setting soon. I mentioned the Inn of Four Winds across the way, but Kay had other plans.