5E the [B]Emboldened[/B], Part #1 Into the Sunless Citadel aka Pig-Loving, Pit-Finding, Rat-Eating- Davron


the Emboldened
Part #000: The Runners & Riders.

This is my new game, D&D 5e on Fantasy Grounds as usual, and this is a short introduction to the runners and riders (the PCs), the action may make a little more sense if you read this -

Sir Lucas Thorbold, Male Human Paladin of Kord Level 1 (played by the Doc) - Knight of the Order of the Bronze Falcon, Knight of the Ancient & Noble Order of the Thistle, Defender of the One True Faith, War Marshal of Waterdeep’s 32nd Cavalry Division, Honorary Consul to Leilon, Honorary Commander of the Waterdeep Watch, Sword & Shield of the Holy Church of Kord, Huntmaster of the Knights of Langley, Earl of Neverwinter, Honorary Rangemaster of the Seas & Isles, Vice Admiral of the Waterdeep 2nd Fleet & a myriad other (mostly honorary) titles.

Physical: Male Human, aged 28, six feet tall and an Adonis - with blond hair and blue eyes, not heavily muscled but wiry, sinewy, incredibly fit and attractive, he should be LL (Ladies Love) Sir Lucas Thorbold.

Backstory: Lucas, rumour has it - at least in very high circles - is the son of one of the Masked Lords of Waterdeep, the City of Splendour. He grew up with the best of everything that money (and privilege) could either need, desire or seek to possess; he wanted for nothing - except perhaps for his ‘absent’ father. However, Lucas eventually learned to blot out his desire to impress a man he had never known by surrendering himself entirely to the rituals of high society - the courtly ways of the affluent of Waterdeep.

That is until the age of 28, when the gradual (at first) realisation over-took him - that his life, for all his money and power, was a vacuous and empty thing. Protected from threat or harm for all of his days he had learned nothing of value, and valued nothing.

Lucas began a new life for himself, his final decision to escape hinged on the disappearance of Sir Braford Carfax, a blustering Paladin of Pelor, who in Lucas’ formative years served as his mentor. Sir Braford, during his employ, had the temerity (on many occasions) to speak the truth to Lucas - dismissing the trivial, he spoke at length, and often, about the plight of the people of the Sword Coast, the fragility of their lives - particularly those that lived outside of the city in the wilds. The old Paladin, Lucas has learned, is missing, and after careful consideration he is of the opinion that the gruff Sir Braford is (or rather was) the only significant person in his life to-date; a father-figure. He would therefore like, more than anything, to see and speak again with Sir Braford. The bluff old knight was last seen heading for the small town of Oakhurst, in search of one last adventure. To this end, Lucas has given up his old ways and hired a trio of retainers to accompany him on his journey; firstly a ‘master of ways’ -

Davron, Male Hill Dwarf Rogue Level 1 (played by Pete) - known by a variety of nicknames - ‘Davron the Hat’, or, ‘the Hat Eater’, or, ‘the Hatter’, or (inevitably), ‘the Mad Hatter’.

Physical: Male Dwarf, middle-aged, dumpy (fat, pot-bellied) and short, and quite angry (much of the time). As well as the tattoos described below Davron’s vast belly bares the legend “Thug Life” (a la Tupac, and many others). Davron is dirty, hairy, and has seemingly only one set of clothes, he wears a leather waistcoat (and nothing else) on his upper body, all weathers. The back of the waistcoat bears the legend, in metal studs, “Death to False Metal”.

Backstory: Davron is a thief, a scumbag and a rogue - and incredibly proud of it, it’s been his life’s work to rise to the level of scumbag. His nicknames (see above) come courtesy of the fact that he has had both of his little fingers removed (cut off as punishment for stealing), and that prior to his mutilation he had the word ‘HATE’ tattooed on the knuckles of both of hands. Therefore, anyone getting close enough to Davron’s clenched fists can now read the indelible legend, “ATE HAT”.

Davron’s life, so far, has been one of short bursts of terror and pain (mostly inflicted upon others), punctuated by lazy times (incarceration). ‘The Hatter’ has been close to having his neck stretched on at least half-a-dozen occasions, the crazy Dwarf must have at least one friend in sufficiently high places.

Secondly Sir Lucas has hired a ‘master of magics’ -

Badnoodle, Male Wood Gnome Wizard Level 1 (played by Trev) - children’s entertainer, trainee artificer & apprentice alchemist turned (due to poverty) adventurer.

Physical: Small, slight and still young. Badnoodle dresses plainly and save for his size and race, blends into the crowd. As a children’s entertainer he is, or rather was, forced to dress up in gay and bright colours, which he hated - especially the :):):):)ing bells. He has no distinguishing features.

Backstory: Badnoodle has tried, and failed at, most things. He was apprenticed to Master Corky Rumble, Alchemist to the Fine Lords & Ladies of Waterdeep, for a decade or more… until the fire. Likewise, he served as a trainee artificer for a further decade at Glam Footleburg’s House of Mechanikals, until the explosion… followed swiftly by the fire.

The only job Badnoodle has managed to excel at is as a children’s entertainer, his act a mixture of legerdemain, prestidigitation and slapstick. Badnoodle was a hit - at least with the sons and daughters of the rich folk of Waterdeep. And yet… and yet Badnoodle, a remarkably dour Gnome, was reluctant to spend his days as a fool for rich (and spoilt) kids.

An opportunity however arose to change his life, perhaps forever - in the wrong place at the right time, nervous, and having just cast a Friends cantrip on himself he found the confidence to claim that he was a Wizard of some considerable power. After nearly a dozen (thankfully short) interviews, and a like number of castings of the Friends cantrip, Badnoodle was hired on to serve Sir Lucas Thorbold as Personal Magicker.

Leaving behind his wife, Kalma, and his young son - Rong, and with his debts almost all paid (thanks to his signing on fee) Badnoodle has set forth, very reluctantly - and in constant fear for his life - to be an adventurer.

Thirdly Sir Lucas hired a ‘master of arms’ -

Gorgo, Male Human Barbarian Level 1 (played by Adam) - a wall of muscle with a massive sword, enough said.

Physical: Massively muscled Gorgo is six feet eight, and weighs in at just short of three hundred pounds. Gorgo looks like Thrud the Barbarian (Google it). The great hulk of a man sports a myriad tattoos and ritual scars marking him out, to anyone who knows, as an exotic from the jungles of Chult. The oddest thing about Gorgo however are his head, teeth and haircut - his head is small for his gargantuan frame, although slightly elongated (like a peanut), and topped with the worst hair in the Sword Coast - a thick lustrous black mop - evenly cut all around (a bowl cut), save for the crown which is entirely shaved (like a Monk’s tonsure). Then there’s his teeth - they’re massive, protrude magnificently, and front and centre are possessed with a gap a pachyderm could saunter through. Gorgo’s solemn (and almost always short) proclamations- when they come - are often made comic by the whistle produced when he speaks. In short, from the head up he looks like an idiot, from the neck down he looks like someone you really wouldn’t want to mess with.

Backstory: Gorgo has been in Waterdeep for a while now, biding his time - or at least doing menial physical work to make money; it is as if he has been waiting for the right opportunity. Recently, and through a variety of connections, he has come to the attention of Sir Lucas, who as a concession to his own inexperience has persuaded himself that it would be advantageous to take some extra muscle on his forthcoming venture. The young Paladin liked the look of Gorgo, how could he fail to be impressed.

The four would-be adventurers have come together to form ‘The Emboldened’, eager to seek out new experiences, delve into dark places and… well, do whatever Sir Lucas tells them to do (within reason), after all he’s paying the bills.

Note - Sir Lucas came up with the name “The Emboldened”, obviously… actually Sir Lucas came up with the name “Sir Lucas Thorbold’s Emboldened”, but the other players threatened to scrag him.

This then is their first adventure, “The Sunless Citadel”, in which the Emboldened set out to locate (rescue?) Sir Lucas’ old mentor- Sir Braford, and so… on we go.

Just to note this is more reportage in style, I just don’t have the time any more - I’ll try to be a little creative as I tell the story, but for the most part this is an aide de memoir for myself and the players. Doing these write-ups is helped enormously by the fact that two of the players (so far) make copious notes during the sessions, and then share them afterwards, I can’t begin to explain how helpful this is.
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the Emboldened
Part #001: Into the Sunless Citadel aka Pig-Loving, Pit-Finding, Rat-Eating- Davron.

The four adventurers, led by Sir Lucas Thorbold- Paladin of Kord, arrive in Oakhurst- a one horse town way off the beaten track. Sir Lucas orders Davron, Badnoodle and Gorgo to take a nose around the place, and to let the townsfolk know that he is in town, and will be speaking at the Ol’ Boar Inn later on about his quest. Interested townsfolk should attend.

The Paladin has already explained to the adventurers that their destination- the Sunless Citadel, is a little over half-a-dozen miles out of town on the ‘Old Road’. The purpose of their visit to Oakhurst is therefore information- about the Sunless Citadel, Sir Braford and anything else related.

A short while later, in the Ol’ Boar Inn, Sir Lucas gives a speech about his present mission to the assembled masses - all twelve of them (if you include the pig, which Davron does - see later). The chatter begins, and after the speech the Emboldened learn - thanks to Sir Lucas paying for drinks for all in the bar -

a) Sir Braford did not venture to the Sunless Citadel alone, accompanying the Paladin of Pelor were Sharwyn & Talgen Hucrele (brother and sister) their parents live in Oakhurst (they’re well-to-do merchants), and also Karakas - a local woodsman, and a bit of a loner.

b) The Sunless Citadel is an ancient redoubt of Dragon Lords, this ‘fact’ is instantly dismissed by Sir Lucas.

c) Cattle are no longer grazed in the area around the Sunless Citadel, there have been attacks - this ‘fact’ is also dismissed, or at least swiftly forgotten about.

d) Goblins lair in the Sunless Citadel, oddly the Goblins are purported to sell fruit? Again, this ‘fact’ is dismissed as fanciful - as Sir Lucas states, “Goblin greengrocers, ridiculous.”

e) Lastly, Garon the barkeep, remembers that a decade or so past a strange fellow called Belak came to Oakhurst asking questions about the Sunless Citadel. Oddly, this Belak, was accompanied by a Giant Frog as big as a small pony. Once again this titbit of information is dismissed as nonsense by Sir Lucas.

Sir Lucas orders Badnoodle to find the Hucrele household and set up a meeting with them, the Gnome goes the extra mile and takes the meeting himself (which doesn’t please Sir Lucas). Badnoodle learns that the Hucreles have almost given up hope - Talgen and Sharwyn have been missing for nearly a month now. The parents are prepared to pay a reward for the return of the missing siblings signet rings - the reward will happily be doubled, tripled, quadrupled if the two young neophyte adventurers are returned alive and well. The wound is still very raw in the Hucrele household, alas they fear the worst has already happened.

Suitably enlightened the Emboldened eat a hearty meal in the Ol’ Boar Inn and then retire for the night.

All except for Davron (played by Pete who is new to D&D), the Rogue decides to do a little exploring, after an evening spent drinking heavily.

Several hours later Sir Lucas, and all of the other inhabitants of the Ol’ Boar Inn, are awoken by the Oakhurst town constables who have apprehended Davron attempting to ahem… how best to put this, to consummate his relationship with the pig (actually sow) that was present at the meeting in the bar earlier. When questioned Davron, between slurred grunts and squeals, explains that he was ‘making bacon’, eventually politeness (and money) wins the day - Davron is bound over in to Sir Lucas’ custody (after the fine is paid). Alas Garon, proprietor of the Ol’ Boar Inn, is unwilling to let the ‘filthy Dwarf’ stay under his roof. Sir Lucas, after admonishing Davron further (to no effect) therefore decides to get his team out of town. A while later the somewhat grumpy Emboldened head off, along the Old Road, and then make camp in the vicinity (as best they can tell at night) of the Sunless Citadel.

Not the smartest move.

During the last watch of the night - Davron’s watch, wouldn’t you know it, the adventurers’ camp is attacked by a quartet of small scurrying creatures seemingly made from bundles of dry twigs. Remarkably Davron spots the critters before the attack begins and calls out a warning, the Rogue and Gorgo cut down the first wave, while Sir Lucas and Badnoodle get out of their pits in time to see off the second wave of attackers. None of the adventures are injured, and four Twig Blights lie dead.

Everyone is in a much better mood, although Davron has a hang-over, and is asking questions - “What did I get up to last night, I keep smelling pork chops?”

In the cold light of the day the adventurers’ camp reveals a few more of its secrets.


The place has been used as a campsite many times in the past, the stone work - the remains of a more substantial ruin, is marked by crude Goblin graffiti, as discerned by Sir Lucas - he is familiar with the tongue. The Goblin’s syntax, spelling, and diction, is the Paladin states - atrocious.

The rope however, that leads below - to the Sunless Citadel, is safe and secure.

Just a note to say Sir Lucas has learned, and then shared with his hirelings, that centuries ago for a reason lost to time, the Sunless Citadel - a fortress of some sort - was entirely swallowed by the ground.

Gorgo descends the rope, there’s a wide ledge no more than twenty feet below. The man-mountain is almost down when he calls out in surprise, a Giant Rat leaps out of the dark and at the Barbarian - Badnoodle blasts the creature with a Fire Bolt - dead.

The action however continues as another pair of Giant Rats emerge from hidden tunnels on the ledge and rip into the newly arrived Gorgo - the Barbarian is bitten. Sir Lucas descends rapidly, rushing to get to Gorgo’s side.

Badnoodle singes one of the attackers with another Fire Bolt, while Gorgo swings frantically but fails to connect repeatedly, and moments later the Barbarian is bitten again.

Davron shoots and kills the already injured Giant Rat, then Sir Lucas arrives on the scene and cuts the last of the vermin down. The Paladin is quickly to Gorgo - Sir Lucas has healing hands, and a very calming bedside manner.

Switchback Stairs.jpg

A short while later and all four adventurers are down to the ledge, which also shows signs of having been used as a campsite, and recently. Eventually, Davron is sent ahead - down a series of switchback stairs and on to, oddly, a courtyard cum-battlement.

The Sunless Citadel, as its name suggests, is hidden from view at the bottom of the crevasse, but now it is revealed to the adventurers. The largest part of the construction seems (somehow) to have made the journey to its present position more-or-less intact. That said either side of the battlement is a vast rubble field which looks difficult, and probably dangerous, to attempt to traverse.

Sunless Citadel Level 1 Session 1.jpg

Number-1-icon50t.png Davron cautions his companions to wait and then heads forward to sniff (?) and stomp about the courtyard, when he’s done he signals the adventurers to him. Then, when the Emboldened have all assembled, he stamps hard at the spot before him, which causes a great pit to loudly clang open.

There’s movement in the pit, Davron grins and then dives in, dagger in hand. The Rogue lands safely but thereafter things go awry, Davron is fighting a Giant Rat - he wounds the beast and then spills his dagger (a ‘1’ will do that). His companions (for a variety of reasons) decide to hold off helping the Dwarf for ‘a bit’. The Rogue sans dagger swiftly kills the Giant Rat, by biting it and tearing the creature’s throat out (‘20’) with his teeth.

Davron takes another bite out of the dead vermin - tasty, the watchers above disperse- put off by the sight, which gives Davron all the time he needs to loot the Goblin body in the pit and snaffle all of its treasure.

A short while later Davron discerns that the entrance to the tower is safe, the Emboldened head in.

Number-2-icon50t.png The dilapidated structure, without a roof or floors above, is a bloody mess - there are three (very) dead Goblins scattered (and shattered) about the place, speared and bled out some of them. Badnoodle is suitably unimpressed, and terrified.

ASHARDALON is written in bloody letters (in Draconic) on the wall, only one of the adventurers can read the text, and has a clue as to what this word, or rather name, refers to - but he’s not telling.

There are two exits, the north-west door leads to an empty passage, the south-east door opens into what appears to be an empty chamber; then Davron locates what he thinks is a third door - a secret portal. The Dwarf opens it, and is pricked by a needle trap (no poison) as he does so.

Beyond the door is a small, partially collapsed, chamber - Davron takes a step inside and instantaneously three Skeletons rise from the rubble - two of the undead come rushing out, the Rogue scarpers to hide behind Sir Lucas. The Paladin is taken by surprise and cut deep (hit by a Crit) and left feeling slightly woozy.

Gorgo rushes over to the Paladin’s side and smashes one of the Skeletons down, Sir Lucas gets his arse in gear- unlimbers his morningstar, and smashes the second undead down (with another Crit). The warriors grin awkwardly at each other, at least for a second or two, until the third Skeleton reminds them of its presence by sinking an arrow into Gorgo’s massive chest. The now heavily wounded Barbarian screams and launches himself in to the small rubble-strewn chamber to smash the archer down.

Fight over.

Number-3-icon50t.png The ruined chamber contains a few ancient coins, and a trio of what are later discovered by Badnoodle to be (+1) magical arrows, which are passed to Gorgo - as recompense for his injuries, also he’s the only one that wields a bow.

Next up, a short rest, Gorgo and Sir Lucas are badly wounded and the Emboldened need to take a breather, at which point our first session of play comes to an end.

Session #1 XP (I’m a tight bugger).

1.01 Info gathered in Oakhurst +100xp.
1.02 The Twig Blight ambush +100xp.
1.03 Giant Rat attack descending into the Sunless Citadel +75xp.
1.04 Davron pit-finder & Giant Rat-eater +25xp.
1.05 Skeletons in the secret chamber +150xp.

Total 450xp.
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