Gesta Gertrudis: Volume I
Introducing my new D&D character, taking the place of Annalax: https://phuulishfellow.wordpress.com/2021/01/07/the-adventures-of-annalax-a-compendium/
- Gertrude von Amleth: Level 8 Human Bard (Glamour)
- STR: 10
- DEX: 17
- CON: 13
- INT: 18
- WIS: 4
- CHA: 20
- Will Power: 13
- Cantrips: Vicious Mockery, Prestidigitation, Minor Illusion
- First Level Spells: Comprehend Languages, Healing Word, Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, Dissonant Whispers
- Second Level: Heat Metal, Silence, Phantasmal Force, Hold Person, Suggestion
- Third Level: Hypnotic Pattern
- Fourth Level: Dimension Door
Spot the dump stat. Gertrude is an exercise in playing a character with insane Charisma and basically no Wisdom (the Wisdom stat roll was actually 1,1,1,4 on the 4d6. With the DM’s permission, I dropped the 4 and kept the 1s). My concept for the character was “Well-meaning Upper Class Twit who has read too many adventure books, and wants to go out on a journey of her own.”
Session One (actually the latter half of Session Fifty-Seven for the Campaign as a whole):
The party now consists of Ember, Elknel, and Thendwyn (plus Thendwyn’s adopted orphan child). Zhan and Manya are currently away doing other things, and Einarr has gone full Devil, disappearing off to Hell. With the town in ruins, the remaining party members headed off along the road to the next location.
(Annoyingly, their response to learning of Annalax’s disappearance was “I hope he didn’t steal our stuff before he left.” As though over fifty sessions of character interaction can be summarised like that).
The party found Gertrude and Einarr’s replacement (a Fir-Bolg Detective named Phuul) along the forest road. Gertrude was quite grateful. She’d given her initial horse to a jolly peasant to look after, and was surprised when she saw neither horse nor peasant again. So she bought another horse… and lost it the same way. Then she bought a third horse, and it fell into a swamp. So she’s horseless and out of money, in a forest, with a Detective gentleman she had met earlier. Oh well, at least she escaped being falsely condemned as a succubus by superstitious villagers.
(The Detective is responsible for rescuing her from the stake, of course. And in terms of surviving in the wilderness, he’s “really good at plucking.” Gertrude is a noble-woman. She loves a spot of hunting, and is genuinely good at it, but she has no clue on actually plucking, skinning, or cooking the game she kills. That’s for servants).
The party allowed Gertrude and the Detective to accompany them on their carriage. Gertrude was fascinated to discover that Thendwyn is a cat with magical powers. Thendwyn used those powers to fling bread at her. Which Gertrude took. She was hungry.
(Gertrude also revealed that there is a family story that, as a very young child, she was temporarily abducted by faeries at the bottom of the garden. Which would explain her strange magical glamour whenever she breaks out her violin. She’s also spent a lot of time in the family library, reading occult books. Gertrude is naive, but very well educated).
On arriving at the next town, she headed to the tavern, where she entertained the jolly peasants with a jig, in return for food and lodgings (no money, remember, and money matters were always a matter for the Estate Steward anyway). Gertrude also thinks all peasants ought to be jolly. From her experience, the correct way of dealing with unhappy peasants is to whip them until they become jolly. It’s what her father used to do…
After being befriended by a
babysitter NPC mercenary, Gertrude headed off for a good night’s sleep, only to be awakened by an attack from Evil Plant Creatures.
Well, Evil Plant Creatures and a snake.
Gertrude retreated into an alleyway with her trusty Detective chum. She’s hunted since childhood, and has read about combat many times, but she’d never actually fought for her life before. Exciting Derring Do indeed.
Her first spell – Hypnotic Pattern – was a complete success. The two Plant Creatures in the vicinity were entranced by the pretty lights, basically becoming Stoner Trees. She gave the Detective a dose of Bardic Inspiration. Then she followed that up with an attempt at Vicious Mockery (“I’ll call the gardener!”), which failed. Oh well.
Running out the far-end of the alleyway attracted the attention of the snake, which had multiple mouths and could move very, very fast. Now, there was a problem: Hypnotic Pattern was still going. Also rather necessary for the poor Detective, battling a Big Plant Critter beside the two incapacitated Stoner Trees.
Gertrude foolishly cast Mantle of Majesty (Glamour Bard ability), to deal with the snake… which brought down the Hypnotic Pattern, and unleashed the Stoners.
Oh dear. Gertrude has zero combat experience, and abysmal wisdom, so it was perfectly in-character, but (out-of-game) this was actually me forgetting about Mantle of Majesty’s effect on concentration. The Fir-Bolg Detective suddenly faced three-on-one…
Except that he made mincemeat of the ex-Stoners, and wounded the third Big One. Phew.
Meanwhile, Gertrude was trying to use Mantle of Majesty’s Command ability. Her first attempt at Commanding the snake failed. Elknel and Thendwyn luckily unleashed decent damage on it, bringing it to the brink of death… and then, irony of ironies, Gertrude killed the snake with Vicious Mockery (“Oh, look. A new pair of boots”). She then redeemed herself by Commanding the Big Plant Critter to Freeze. Which allowed Ember and the Detective to finish it off, thus ending the fight. Huzzah.
Then the Town Guard turned up, thoroughly relieved that all the Plant Critters were dealt with. Gertrude made one last use of Command, this time on one of the hapless locals.
- GERTRUDE: “Brandy!”
- GUARD: “Yes, m’am.”
Followed up with:
- EMBER: “You’re not supposed to use Command on the Town Guards!’
- GERTRUDE: “What else is the Town Guard for?”
In the end, the remainder of the party had a big bonfire celebration, while Gertrude shared a bottle of brandy with the Guard Captain. The Guard Captain was a total suck-up, of course… but the point is that our privileged young woman expects this sort of treatment. She politely offered hospitality in return, in the event that the Captain is ever in the vicinity of Lord Augustus von Amleth’s manor-house.
Next day, Elknel and the Detective stumbled across an eccentric hermit on the outskirts of town. The hermit keeps a pair of goats, and gleefully dispenses cryptic wisdom. It also turned out that there is a mysterious ruined temple out in the woods. Definitely worth checking out…
- GERTRUDE: “Oh, I do hope there’s a ghost. It just wouldn’t be a proper ruined temple without a ghost.”
On the bright side, an epic recital of The Serpent and the Sleuth down at the tavern, combined with Enthralling Performance, ensured Gertrude actually had food rations and a melee weapon this time*. Bonus was charming the Tavern Owner into giving all the patrons a free tankard of ale. Huzzah.
*Hitherto surviving with bow, arrows, and her not-inconsiderable magic.