Tonight I launched a DnD 5E campaign using the Sunless Citadel as found in the Tales From the Yawning Portal. I did something I haven't done since 2nd Edition, the player only rolled 3d6 to assign to their Ability scores.
Willen of Toth, Half-Elf Hunter Ranger (Revised)
Frances, 650 year old Wood Elf Drunken Master Monk
Lothar Stoneguard, Hill Dwarf Life Cleric of the Raven Queen
Ander Brightweed, Human Loremaster Wizard
Oakhurst, about 4 days ride south of New Turath, a village of 900 preparing for the Summer Solstice.
Why They Are Here
Willen is in the village to learn more about the Pathfinder Society (yes, I stole this) and has a meeting schedule with Venture Captain
(Male Human Eldritch Knight Fighter 4).
Frances, is a drunken wanderer, who has decided to remain in the are for the coming Solstice. He has heard that in each of the last 5 years, the owner of Oakhurst's Old Boar Inn, Gavon Pilsner has won the auction for the Guthas Tree's Red Apple that is auctioned off by local Goblins. The Hard Cider he brews from the Red Apple has become renown and the monk is keen to give it a try.
Lothar has been sent from nearby Ironheart to investigate the whereabouts of Utgard Heartsilver, the grandson of his Jarl.
Ander is on a mission for his Patron, Ivers Kant, to retrieve a rare book known as the Palladium from Maggia Melune, who owns The Bookery in Oakhurst. However, Maggia has a sick sister and won't return for several days, forcing Ander to wait for her.
Close to 100 visitiors have already arrived in preparation for the Summer Solstice and the Red Apple auction.
While eating at a crowded Iron Wheel Public House for lunch, the characters are forced to sit together and also meet Gemmel and Dardin Du'Cain, 2 tiefling brothers. Dardin, a talkative sort, gets the conversation flowing and after learning about Willen's hopes for the Pathfinder Society,points out Venture Captain Van Zandt sitting alone nearby. Frances manages an introduction and Van Zandt boorishly invites everyone to a meet up that evening where he teases big opportunity.
Meanwhile, a disheveled halfling named Howard Whipperwhill identifies himself as a worshipper of the Raven Queen to Lothar and asks for the cleric to perform funeral rites on his sister, Enid.
Ander and Frances follow the dwarf to the Whipperwhill home. While performing his rites, Lothar observes that Enid's corpse has swollen, yellow glands on her neck and brown pustules on her fingers. Looking over the rest of the family, the cleric sees an older male halfling and a female halfling bearing signs of infection. Concerned, Lothar and the others head over to the Shrine of Pelor, maintained by Corkie and after consulting with her, both are sure it is Yellow Plague. Lothar accompanies two of Corkie's acolytes, Ivan and Drago to relocate the family just outside the village, at a holy place known as the Somberhope, for treatment. Hedra "Heddie" Sunspinner (Female Half-Elf Light Cleric 2) is the caretaker of Somberhope and immediately begins treating the Whipperwhills. Soon, Corkie arrives and thanks Lothar, Frances, and Ander for their aid and tells them they are investigating the Whipperwhill home and the neighborhood for signs of futher Plague.
As they return to the village, Lothar and Frances head to join Willen at the Pathfinder Society meet-up, while Ander, exhausted from the day, sits on the stoop of The Bookery. After nearly half an hour, a beautiful young woman nearly trips over him exiting the store. She reveals herelf to be Nadia Norn, Maggia's assistant who is watching the store while her boss is away. Nadia is on her way to the Pathfinder Society meet-up, as well, and drags Ander with her.
Venture Captain Garland Van Zandt quickly introduced himself at the meet-up and informed everyone that a contest would allow the winners admission into the famed Pathfinder Society. Kerowyn Hucrete, a local noble, has not seen her niece or nephew in a month, since the two joined an expedition to the nearby Sunless Citadel. The first group of applicants to find them or their signet wrings and return them to Hucrete would win apprenticeship in the Society, as well as a hefty amount of gold. Van Zandt then divided the applicants up into 3 teams and announced the contest had started.
Lothar, Willen, Frances, and Ander ended up being teamed together and Willen wanted to set off immediately, even though night had fallen. By midnight they found themselves at the ravine that the Citadel resided in, so they found a nearby copse of trees to camp in.
Morning came without incident and the group found their way across the ravine and down into it, where they were viciously attacked by giant, aggressive rats. The rats proved to be easy foes and the group made it's way down the rough hewn steps toward the Sunless Citadel, itself. Lothar noted architectural features that led him to believe dwarvish slaves were used in it's construction and Frances recalled a story of the Citadel being used by a hobgoblin warlord named Drogar Nightbane, long ago. The drunkard monk also recalled a meeting with an odd fellow named Belek over a decade ago, who claimed to be searching for the place.