Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Holidays in D&D: Part Four

Before long, you spy a middle aged man stride up the steps to the platform. The human stands just over five feet tall, and his face is framed by shoulder length brown hair, to match his drooping mustache. He is cloaked in a fine crimson silk cape, falling loosely around his green tabard, inlaid with golden thread that shimmers even from your distance away. Aside from his noble guard he is dressed in noble's clothing, fringed by perfectly tanned bits of leather. His fingers are adorned with rings and he wears a rather large golden amulet around his neck.

He walks to the center of the platform, looking out over the bustling sea of adventurers for a moment, as if taking in every individual face.

He finally raises his gloved hands, and almost immediately, the crowd is silent. Even the birds in the oak trees fall silent, as a tense and excited peace falls over the crowd for a moment. He slowly lowers his hands, letting the silence sink in, before finally speaking, his voice magically rippling over the crowd to reach every ear.

"Welcome... to the Festival of Adventurers!"

As if on cue, the gathered forces suddenly unite in one explosive cheer! Hats are thrown into the air, as magic missiles explode in the atmosphere, and glitterdust spells rain down upon the crowd.

The cheering seems to continue without end, the sights and sounds, the songs and smells, all having built to this one bursting moment of excitement. It was finally to begin.

Again, the man slowly lifted his hands, the crowd falling softly once more, until his chuckling laughter was the only noise heard.

"Hah hah, yes yes, welcome! I am Lord Erolin Timertikos, and welcome to my fair city. Look around! The men and the women, the elves and the dwarves who stand beside you.

Here on Oak Island stand over one thousand people. Some from the mountains, some from the trees. Some from the cities, and some from the very ocean itself.

We have crossed the seven continents seeking those brave enough, strong enough, and wise enough, to be here today. And here you are, one thousand strong. But there is one thing. Yes there is one thing, that binds you all together. There is one thing that makes you, all of you, one. You. Are. Adventurers!"

Cheers from the audiences erupt again. You can make out dwarves patting elves on the back. And a few gnomes sitting on the shoulders of orcs and half-giants for a better view. It is truly a sight to behold, the unity of it all. Again the man raises his hand, bringing a swift silence to the island.

"Yes, Adventurers. Heroes. Heroines. The dungeon crawlers and the treasure seekers. Some of you seek fame. Some of you seek riches. Some of you glory. You serve your gods, you weave your spells, you shine your swords, all of you for adventure. And I can tell you my friends, there is nothing greater.

My great grandfather, the great paladin Orrin Timertikos founded this town, and his was the adventure that started it all. All that you see before you. Adventuring runs in my blood as it does yours, and in the next three days you will have your chance to prove it. Challenges await you indeed, and though I have heard many rumors about the supposed first challenge…"

He pauses to chuckle for a little bit. “A kobold throwing contest being the most amusing of them all…”

This raises a light laughter from the crowd, including from the kobolds who seem to be enjoying themselves more then ever. "Nothing could prepare you! Nothing could prepare you for our first challenge. Priestess Tolivar, if you would please."

This last bit he says aside to a woman dressed in brown robes, leaves in her hair, standing to the side. She nods, turning with her back to the crowd, facing the large vacant space behind the main stage. She begins to weave her hands together, as if they were dancing to the patterns of the wind.

"Now then," Erolin continues, "Priestess Lira Tolivar, leader of the Oak Island druids, has granted us this place for our first event. Now if you would all do me a favor and reach into your green envelopes. Within, you should find a bound scroll. Open it.

On that scroll is written a name. It is the name of your team. Yes your team! For what is an adventurer without a party of fellow adventurers by their side? Of course, in this challenge, you have been randomly paired up based on the order you checked in, so I wish you all the best. On the back of your scroll is a meeting place somewhere in the city. Members of the Adventurers Guild will be available to provide directions if you require them. After the challenge is revealed, you should report to your scheduled meeting place, to meet your teammates, and discuss strategy. Strategy, you ask? You will need it, for taking on this!"

He steps to the side in one fluid motion, throwing his hand back to present the open space behind the platform as the druid finishes dispelling the illusion and the true landscape forms into place. A huge maze rises from the ground, as walls of briar and stone form twisting walls and narrow passages. You can just make out the roar of strange beasts waiting within, as the crowd gasps and murmurs in excitement. Many fingers point towards the center of the maze, where one tall pole stands, topped by a small blue fluttering flag.

"The Labyrinth! Four teams enter. Many challenges wait within, not to mention the other teams out to make sure they reach the flag first. Who will emerge victorious? That and many more questions will be answered at this, the Festival of Adventurers!"

A final cheer erupts from the crowd, before the mob begins to file off of the island, heading to their respective meeting points. You all glance down at your scrolls, and at the two little words scribed upon them, "Team Chimera". The back of the scroll lists your meeting location as the Cathedral of Pelor, towards the western end of town in the Temple district. The festival has begun.