And so it was time for Roman Dragonshield and Els to have their first adventure.
King Andy had a problem. And so he called to his castle the two greatest heroes in the land. Roman Dragonshield, and Els. They came, and he explained his problem. Something has been setting the farmer’s fields on fire. If this carries on the farmers won’t be able to grow any food. Would Roman Dragonshield and Els be able to find out what’s happening?
Our two heroes quickly agreed.
First they headed toward the farmers fields. As they approached they saw smoke on the horizon. There was a fire burning right now! They rushed to the scene and found the farmers desperately fighting back the fire.
Initially they weren’t sure how to help. Then, spotting that the farmers buckets were too small to stop a big fire Roman had an idea. He dashed to the village and came back with a bathtub full of water in each hand and dumped it onto the fire. Meanwhile Els pitched in helping the farmers dig a firebreak. Thanks to the efforts of the heroes the fire was extinguished.
[Roman rolled strength for his bathtubs feat, while Els tested running and jumping. Both passed.]
The grateful farmers were sure they knew who was responsible for the fires. ‘It’s the bandits from Rover’s wood’ they said ‘stands to reason doesn’t it?’. That the farmers had no evidence for this at all went unnoticed by Roman and Els, who promptly set off for the wood.
Our heroes began searching Rovers Wood for the bandits. But as it turned out the Bandit’s found them! Snowflake the husky was caught in a net that dropped from a tree and a band of ferocious bandits leapt out with bows, arrows and swords to attack them!
[Els fails a finding things roll while looking for the bandits]
The bandits confident attack failed quickly. Els whacked one in the head with her telescope, but the real hero was Dragon Piet, whose fiery breath melted their swords and burned their bows.
[Els succeeds at fighting monsters. Roman rolls a 10 for Dragon Riding]
Confronted with a ferocious fire breathing dragon the bandits quickly debated whether they should surrender, or run away. But they debated too long, and so surrender was their only option. ‘How can we be bandits now we’ve got no swords and no bows?’ they wanted to know. Our heroes weren’t interested in answering that question. They wanted the bandits to abandon their field burning ways. Bandit Bill, leader of the bandits protested their innocence ‘It’s not us! We’re bandits. We steal things. We don’t set things on fire.’ he explained.
Roman and Els let the bandits go and pondered their next move. They went back to talk to the farmers who were grumpy that it hadn’t been the bandits. This time though one farmer spoke up and said he thought he’d seen something away toward Witch’s Wood. Our heroes set off again.
As our heroes approached Witch’s Wood they could see some sparkly lights in the distance. So they followed them to find out what they were. They hadn’t gone far when they became stuck in a swamp! With considerable effort they managed to pull themselves out. When the lights appeared a second time, they decided to stay where they were.
[No die roll for the first bit, if you follow the Will o the Wisp you get stuck in the swamp. Both succeeded on Running and Jumping rolls to extricate themselves]
But Witch’s Wood is a foolish place to camp for the night. Els was alerted to the sound of something in the bushes. Just in time she woke Roman as a band of goblins charged out of the woods. Els struck them with her telescope, Roman Dragonshield picked up a goblin and threw him into the trees. The goblins panicked
‘It’s a monster!’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Well something threw me into this tree!’
[Els rolls fighting monsters, and succeeds. Roman rolls Super Strength, and succeeds]
The goblins were defeated, but our heroes problems were only just beginning. From the forest they could hear the stomp, stomp stomp of something big coming through the woods. Suddenly three huge creatures burst out of the forest, wearing thick armour and swinging tree trunks like clubs. Els and Snowflake were knocked to the ground. Roman Dragonshield used his great strength and stopped a tree trunk from crushing him.
Els scrambled to her feet as Roman Dragonshield leapt to her defence before a monster could crush her. Snowflake bit the monsters on the bottom, greatly upsetting them. Then Roman Dragonshield swung a tree-trunk of his own, proving his strength the equal of the monsters. Finally, after an epic struggle the monsters retired into the forest.
[To make the monsters feel bigger the fight required multiple die rolls. First a test to survive their initial onslaught. Els failed, Roman succeeded. So the next action became the two of them stopping Els getting squashed by a tree trunk. After that the fight continued until both heroes succeeded on their rolls.]
The Trollgers – as our heroes decided to call them – retreated into the woods. Els returned to searching the woods for signs of a fire-starting creature. On the edge of the woods she found paw prints that had been melted into the rocks. Surely this was a clue. Peering over the top of a hill she saw a lion. But this was no ordinary lion. It was glowing red hot like molten metal with smoke rising off it.
[Els succeeds on a finding things roll]
Our two heroes paused for a debate. The Lion was clearly a significant challenge, and too hot to touch. After some deliberation the plan was agreed. Els would keep track of the Lion, while Roman would fly off to get some water to cool the Lion with. And like all good plans, it worked!
Els hid in the bushes and watched the cat, Roman returned with a cattle trough full of water which he dumped on top of it. In a cloud of steam the cat retreated into some bushes and stayed there, waiting to see if the heroes would follow it in.
[Els succeeds at climbing and exploring, Roman at strength to throw the water.]
At this point the heroes elected to try negotiation. ‘Dragon Piet can speak cat!’ and so it was that the considerably cooler Molten Lion was convinced to come with them to King Andy’s Zoo for Magical Creatures, where it was given a bed of coal to lie on and as much coal as it liked to eat.
King Andy was delighted with the work of his two heroes, and promised more adventures for them in the future.
Notes : As inspiration for this first session I had a map, two characters, and memories of recent sightseeing in Scotland. For extra inspiration I flicked through a set of Dixit cards and was attracted to a picture of a red pegasus in a wood. And that, gave me enough of an idea to get started. If I’d written it out as an adventure seed it would have been
‘Something is starting fires in the farmers fields. Twist – The farmers blame bandits, but it is really a magical animal.’
And that was all the preparation I did.
The eventual choice of a Lion as the monster was based on a Lynx we’d seen, and which the children had loved, at Scotland’s Deer Centre. I’d planned to make more of the farmers wrongly accusing the bandits than I did, but the kids just weren’t alive to the clues I tried to drop in.
The expedition to Witch’s Wood was made deliberately hard because I thought I’d take the opportunity to establish the woods as a really scary place full of all kinds of monsters.
Having created the challenge of ‘What are you going to do about this red hot, monstrous cat’ I just let the kids go at it. I find it’s fine to throw problems at the kids without having an idea in advance as to how they might solve them. They could have just announced they were going to fight it, but because ‘it’s too hot’ was presented as the immediate challenge that was the first thing they elected to address. Having done that they could have captured it, but instead decided to talk to it. The Lion couldn’t communicate much – just that it was cold and hungry, but that was enough and so they took it home to King Andy.
It was while they were talking to Andy that I decided his penchant for collecting magical beasts could become something of a problem. Which leads us nicely to the second adventure…