Returning to the Forgotten Realms

Dungeons & Dragons Encounters, which started this spring, is a program started by Wizards of the Coast in cooperation with local game stores that organizes people to play Dungeons & Dragons. My local game store, Blue Highway Games, is participating in this program. Every other Wednesday, from 6:30-9:30 PM, a bunch of Dungeon Masters go to the store to run the module Halaster’s Lost Apprentice for any players who want to drop by. One of the DMs at Blue Highway Games is none other than Erik Scott de Bie, the author of the module himself. Yesterday, April 28, was the fourth session of the program.

Having bought the core rulebooks back in 2008 when they first came out, I was unable to find a group to play with… that is, until now. Of course, my current hell schedule prevented me from attending yesterday’s session, which kind of puts me behind in experience points. I wonder how they deal with the sudden absence of a character? The four-person party that I was in was not DM’d by Scott de Bie, but by one of the Blue Highway staff, Max Reichlin. In Halaster’s Lost Apprentice, a group of adventurers is recruited by a wealthy noblewoman whose uncle, a noted wizard, wants to retrieve ritual components from the recently discovered underground workshop of another wizard, who was supposedly an apprentice of the mysterious archmage, Halaster.

My character, Leonard C. Blacklock (“Lenny” for short), is a combat wizard. He was once worried about becoming fat, but ever since the frontier town in which he served as a mage-guard became a ghost town, he has instead worried about where his next meal is coming from. The promise of wealth and magical knowledge prompted him to apply his ice magic skills to dungeon crawling.

Darius Forth the Second is a Paladin who serves Torm, the god of duty and loyalty. In a time of economic hardship, the Church of Torm was receiving fewer and fewer donations. The oracles at Darius’s church told him to journey to Waterdeep, where he would find both wealth and a friend in need. Journey he did, and he was reunited with his old friend Lenny, with whom he had parted ways four years ago when Darius entered the seminary. A skilled swordsman and healer, Darius holds the front lines of battle in the quest for financial stability.

The elf Eselda Sparkle is a healer and cleric of Sune, the goddess of love and beauty. (Yes, there is a woman in my play group, and another woman in a different group in the same store. Apparently female Dungeons & Dragons players, while in the minority, are not as rare as you would think.) She was the first one to encounter their wealthy client, who had gotten herself drunk and was trying to recruit obviously criminal elements to quest for her. Ms. Sparkle and her friend saved the noblewoman, and once they knew who she was and what she wanted, Ms. Sparkle became the leader of the expedition. As her name would suggest, Eselda Sparkle has a cheerful and optimistic personality and specializes in lovely sparkling radiant magic attacks.

Cold and sullen, Ize Grayvan is nevertheless Ms. Sparkle’s childhood friend and constant companion. An elf from a different tribe taken in by her village, he is a druid whose nature magic can summon swarms of spiders and other small creatures. Deathly quiet and intimidating (he often has a spider or two crawling over his skin), he prefers to keep to himself until ass-kicking is required. Lenny and Darius have discovered that he is hard to talk to, but his power and his loyalty to Ms. Sparkle are both unquestionable.

As you would expect from Dungeons & Dragons players, everyone at the table was pretty geeky. However, they were a different kind of geek. I had no idea what all the Star Trek, and Stargate references were about, and I didn’t recognize any of the board games they mentioned. On the other hand, none of them realized why “Leonard C. Blacklock” only picked ice magic instead of different elements to deal with a variety of threats.

9 Responses to “Returning to the Forgotten Realms”

  1. Samukun says:

    You’re well on your way towards becoming a professional mangaka if you can still make colour drawings while being a full time student and employed full time.

  2. KimikoMuffin says:

    I confess that I didn’t catch the reference until I saw the picture at the bottom. The one time my mutant power to make connections between the damnedest things fails me … X3

    But yeah, glad to see you’re making it back to your blog!

  3. linger says:

    >I wonder how they deal with the sudden absence of a character?

    Back when I played D&D and other RPG’s in highschool, the “in-game” answer was usually something like ” got kidnapped/lost/hungover, and didn’t rejoin the party until the end of the session.”

  4. jbrennan says:

    You should tell the people in your party to watch out – I hear your character has a big hitbox, if you know what I mean.

    Also, Sparkle looks suspiciously like another loli Elf…

  5. I love me some stories. And pictures that go with them are also a plus.

  6. Also, I realized that the elf in that one picture looks a lot like Nissa. Coincidence?!

  7. Frein says:

    Leonard C. Blacklock + ice magic = ?

    I don’t get it. 🙁

    Also, 2nd edition is for hairy, manly men and 4th edition is for metrosexual sissies.

  8. Sixten says:

    @jbrennan: Sparkle isn’t loli.

    @Thunder Chicken: It’s your imagination.

    @Frein: I suspect you’re joking when you say you don’t get it, but if you actually don’t, Lenny Blacklock = genderswapped Letty Whiterock. And while I definitely enjoyed 2nd Edition back in the day, I’m glad we’ve moved away from randomly generated ability scores and HP, negative armor class, Cure Light Wounds restoring less and less of your total HP as you went up in level, memorizing multiples of Magic Missile, and 18/percentage Strength scores.

  9. Frein says:


    I’m actually not kidding. Early bosses of Touhou games I haven’t played and that don’t have much fan content aren’t exactly my speciality. The logo on his tunic seemed familiar, but I couldn’t remember where I had seen it before.

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