"So Macklemore, since you're joining us for the first time, let's give you a quick introduction to everyone's characters and the plot so far. Dwayne, you want to go first?" Vin Diesel asked, finishing setting up the player-character tokens and backdrops on the map draped across the table.
"Sure," Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson replied. "So in this campaign I'm running a half elf warlock named Neonai. When he was a child, the lich king Damoc killed his family and village on the Isle of Elene. Neonai was so consumed with rage and awe at Damoc's terrible power that he made a pact with an Old God in order to match the lich king. His life's quest is tracking down Damoc and any aligned with him, and killing them."
"That's where I step in," John Cena said excitedly, all smiles. "My guy's Erik the Merciful, protector of the town Highdale. He met Neonai a year before this campaign- since Erik's a paladin, he couldn't just stand by and let Neonai take the lich out all by himself. It'd be against his Oath of Devotion: to wipe out evil in Veren. So they teamed up and have been unstoppable since."
"Not quite- you forget you both were ambushed in Goran's Fortress," Vin interjected.
"We barely made it out of that one alive!" Dwayne said.
"That's also when you found your resident support, a.k.a. me, brother!" Guy Fieri exclaimed, finally sitting down at the table. He turned his chair around so he could prop his arms up in front of him.
"So these guys are getting their asses kicked in the fortress and my character comes through- he's Agubash, a traveling half-orc bard. Neonai and Erik are all like 'Hey we need help over here!' and the gerblins-"
"Goblins," John corrected.
"And the gerblins had actually ambushed Agubash a couple days earlier and taken his money, so he comes through with his mandolin. A killer riff later and the guys gain enough hit points to finish those jerks off! So they all get to talkin' and Neonai and Erik explain what they're up to and Agubash is 100% on board. In any case he can get a sick ballad out of it later." Guy punctuated the last sentence by popping open a can of soda.
"They've been together for a few months now in the game and just got to the city of Glintsteele," Vin said, looking at Macklemore. "We've already established that the group hired Kieren as a mercenary, but why don't you tell us a bit about them?"
"Well uh..." Macklemore paused to reshuffle his character pages, trying to find the right paper to help him. "Kieren's a rogue- a tiefling- who was born with mysterious smoke tattoos that migrate all over his body. He was also an orphan so he grew up as an urchin, learning the ways of thievery and joined roving a street gang when he got older. Kieren's personal quest is to find his destiny and to find out what the smoke tattoos mean."
"Hey, we've needed a rogue! He sounds great," Dwayne said approvingly.
"Yeah, he sounds solid," John agreed.
"Not bad for your first D&D character," Vin said, grinning from behind his Dungeon Master's Screen, shuffling a few sheets of paper.
"So, we start with all four of you in front of the Duke of Glintsteele's villa. Kieren's gang has been hired to stake out the grounds and stop intruders. From your vantage point down the street, you can see one muscular guard patrolling the gates leading into the courtyard. What will you do?"
"As resident bard, I say we give them a show! I'll bang out some nasty beats for the guards while the rest of you sneak in," Guy said.
"The last time you did that for us, the bandits were intent on beating you into a pulp 30 seconds into the show," Dwayne countered. He leaned forward in his chair, studying the map.
"We could charge them, and wail on them before they know what's hit," John suggested.
"It's a big gang, we only know about the one beefy guy outside," Macklemore said, "Do they know that Kieren's been hired?"
"Yes, but not by who," Vin replied.
"We should approach them with Kieren then," Dwayne said, settling back into his chair. "He can tell them we're new recruits and we've been assigned to this detail."
"Hey, that could work," John said. Guy nodded his approval as he took a drink from his soda can.
"Then that's settled. With Kieren up front, we approach the guard," Dwayne said.
"Alright gang, roll for initiative. Turns out our guard has been told to engage with anyone suspicious on sight." All of the men found their respective d20 dice and rolled. Guy's roll was more enthusiastic than the others, bouncing off the map and onto the floor.
"Hey, if this gives me an 18 every time, I need to throw like this more often," he joked as he retrieved his die.
"Turns out you go first," Vin noted, "then Dwayne, the guard, John, and finally Macklemore. So what's your plan?"
"Agubash hits them with a Thunderwave," Guy said rather triumphantly. "The guard has to make a constitution saving throw." Vin's dice clinked from behind the Dungeon Master's Screen.
"The patrolling guard fails, rather spectacularly. What now?"
"He gets hit with 11 thunder damage and pushed 10 feet back."
"It turns out your opponent actually gets knocked into the gate and suffers 3 more damage, so good job. Dwayne?"
"'I cast Eldritch Blast on the guard," Dwayne said, rolling his d20 dice. "Tell me a 14 will hit him, Vin."
"Close, but yes," Vin said, shuffling through some of his papers behind the screen. "How much force damage?"
"Exactly 10! Hell of a start." John high-fived Dwayne from across the table.
"Alright- the guard charges Kieren in front- what's your AC, Macklemore?"
"Uh..." Macklemore looked through his own papers again, lost in the sea of numbers and traits jotted down. "Fifteen."
"Looks like he just barely hits you. His sword does 4 piercing damage."
"Tough break, Mack," John said sympathetically. "Erik sidesteps next to Kieren and attacks the guard with his greatsword." John paused to roll, his d20 die landing on a 16.
"That hits, what's the damage?" Vin asked. In response, John rolled his d6 twice.
"Four aaaaaand... five. Nine damage."
"Your move, Macklemore."
"Kieran gives Erik a thumbs up and also attacks the guard with his rapier, contesting his armor class with a 14," Macklemore said hesitantly.
"You succeed," Vin said approvingly. "How much?"
"On an eight-sided die?" Vin leaned forward to peer over his screen.
"That's a 6, my dude," Guy said, pointing at the line on the bottom of the number.
"Oh... right," Macklemore said sheepishly.
"Still a good hit though," Dwayne commented.
"It is good, actually. The guard gasps out his dying breath, and then falls to the ground. You've won!" Vin said, smiling. The players of the table hi-fived each other in a camaraderie only marveled in 90's American films.
"Unfortunately... now the rest of the gang now knows you're here. Gear up for another fight, guys."