In this, the [TRUNCATED] pilot episode of The Adventure Zone, the McElroys create the characters with which they'll build a new -- and hopefully very, very lucrative -- fantasy fiction franchise. Join in the campaign as Justin (Taako), Travis (Magnus) and Clint (Merle), led by Dungeon Master Griffin, take their first steps into the unknown [with only some of the table talk].
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Merle, Taako, and Magnus met each other on Craigslist -- that is, a list posted by a gnome named Craig. Among the listings for elves with hungry butts and lonely tieflings who'd like to make friends, the three discovered an open listing for a three-person job posted by a dwarf named Gundren Rockseeker, a cousin of Merle's. After our three heroes fought another trio for the job, Gundren informed them of an exciting opportunity that he called 'the last job you'll ever need to take.' Ignoring the implications of that statement, the adventurers learned that Gundren wants them to do a little favor for him first. An audition, so to speak. He asked the trio to escort a supply wagon from Neverwinter to the town of Phandalin, a little mining town about 150 miles to the south-east. Phandalin was famous for its mining industry, which produced ores used in the creation of magical items. The town was abandoned after being ransacked and destroyed by orcs, but is now in the process of being rebuilt. Gundren doesn't expect the adventurers to face any trouble during the transit. Since it's a pretty simple job, he offered them a paltry reward of 10 gold pieces each. Certainly not the last job they'll ever need to take, but perhaps it'll lead to more lucrative opportunities. Gundren is leaving Neverwinter ahead of the adventurers, and he exhorted them to meet him in Phandalin with the supplies.
On the Road Again Edit
The story then fast-forwards to the present as our adventurers trundle on down the High Road to Phandalin. Merle is "studying his cantrips" in the back of the wagon as Magnus drives the cart. Also along for a ride is a leather chest and the ugliest dog they've ever seen. Something about the whole deal seems fishy to Merle, and the feeling isn't helped by the sight of two dead horses lying in the road. Suddenly, Magnus notices some
goblins gerblins hiding in the brush! The goblins attack the cart but are swiftly murdered by the adventurers, who get one kill each. After scooping up some gold from the goblin corpses, the heroes examine the horse corpses. The bodies are slightly warm -- they didn't die that long ago. More worryingly, the horses were owned by Barry Bluejeans and Gundren Rockseeker! After recovering a map owned by Gundren, the heroes notice a suspicious-looking trail leading into the brush. After covering the wagon with some brush and tree branches, the trio venture into the woods in search of their employer.
A Cave Story Edit
The trail is easily followed. Gundren's a pretty big guy -- for a dwarf, that is -- and he left a pretty deep imprint in the dirt. The adventurers follow the trail to a natural cave, out of which a beautiful stream is flowing. The adventurers can see perhaps twenty feet into the cave, which means that someone will have to use some sort of light-causing magic to help Magnus, the only adventurerer who doesn't have dark vision. After more quibbling than anyone would expect, Merle blesses Magnus's axe to glow with a divine light. The adventurers don't get far into the cave before they find a fork in the cave. The light from Magnus's bitchin' axe illuminates the two paths. Listening closely, the trio can hear the clank of chains and a rustling sound from the right-most path. With nary a single thought, Magnus impulsively rushes in. With even less thought, Merle yells after him, "You fool! Wait for us!" The sound bounces off the walls of the cave and echoes throughout the entire structure. A wave of startled bats pours from the cave, as Merle runs after Magnus. Taako, meanwhile, is hanging back.
The adventurers eventually reach a decent-sized cavern without furnishings or decoration. There are stalagmites all along the ground, which Griffin dubs 'bitching cones of rock.' Big metal rods emerge from the stalagmites, which are connected to chains, which are connected to wolves. The angry wolves were awoken by Merle's foolhardy shout. Ignoring the rational thoughts in his mind, Magnus calmly and confidently walks towards the rabid, angry wolves, certain that his Animal Handling skills will protect him. Somehow, he realizes this is a bad idea and backs away from the snarling canines. After returning to his fellow adventurers ("There's wolves back there", he says. "Doesn't seem to be worth it") the trio continues down the cave, which at this point is growing very dark. With his dwarven night vision, Merle notices a bridge up ahead over the three adventurers. It appears to connect two passages on the second story of the cave. Merle also notices a shadowy figure sitting on the bridge. Taako, obliviously, calls out "Hello, friend!" in Elvish to the figure, who grunts in surprise. Ignoring his fellow adventurers, Taako calls again, this time in Goblin. "Who's there?" replies the goblin. "You don't sound like anybody I know."
TAAKO: We're just exploring. We've taken a wrong turn. GOBLIN: You certainly have. I would actually heartily recommend you turn around, this is not a great place for tourism. [Travis laughs] TAAKO: Where have we found ourselves? GOBLIN: Come a little bit closer. Show yourself to me!
Taako warns the goblin that he's very dangerous but doesn't want to hurt anyone. Merle mutters something about cutting goblins in half. The bridge goblin reveals that the adventurers are inside the goblin's hideout and calls for backup, calling "Guys, it's the guys from the horse thing!" The goblin pulls out a shortbow and begins raining arrows down on the trio. Merle quickly casts Shield of Faith around Magnus, protecting him from any attacks. Seeing this, the goblin decides to aim for Merle instead of the burly, magically protected fighter. The arrow strikes him in the shoulder, dealing 5 damage to the dwarven cleric. Taako retaliates with Ray of Frost, which nearly kills the bridge goblin. Immediately afterwards the sound of rushing water can be heard. Magnus wisely steps back and shoots the goblin with his own shortbow, killing him and knocking him into the water. Fearing for his life, Merle attempts to climb up the rocks but falls back into the water. Somehow, Taako succeeds where Merle failed and clambers onto the bridge.
Suddenly, a horrifying wave of water rushes down the cave and sweeps Magnus and Merle away, dealing 3 damage to both of them. A horrified Taako suddenly hears some goblins calling after the now-deceased bridge goblin. "Did we get 'em?" they ask. Thinking quickly, Taako tells them the adventurers are definitely dead, but urges them not to come into the cavern as he's 'studying his cantrips'. This disgusts the goblins enough to scare them away.
[End of Episode]
Featured NPCs Edit
Featured Locations Edit
TRAVIS: I rolled a 2. I can't find my own butthole GRIFFIN: You're like, "Look at these big dead dogs."
- ↑ see the donor bonus prequel
- ↑ Somehow crushing the rival applicants in one-on-one combat wasn't enough for him.
- ↑ Griffin: It's like Deadwood, but shittier.
- ↑ Notably, Merle kills one goblin by hurling his handaxe into the brush. When asked whether Merle needed to wade into the brush to retrieve it, Griffin tells him not to worry about it. Thirty-three episodes later, it's an item of contention whether Merle actually has a handaxe. At that point, it seems in character for Merle to throw his weapon into the woods and forget about it, considering his lackadaisical treatment of his items.
- ↑ http://www.enworld.org/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=62191&d=1403000831