D&D: The Lawnmower and The Banshee

A couple of weeks ago I played my first ever game of Dungeons and Dragons. It was my bachelor party and we were looking for something to do that would be more interactive than just drinking. My brother recommended a D&D game, with a slight bachelor party theme, and we were off. He played the role of Dungeon Master whilst the other five members of the party took on various characters, all with surprisingly anglicised names for a fantasy journey.

D&D is something that I’ve always wanted to try but haven’t been able to, until now. I knew enough people at school to form a group, and I was a bit of a nerd, but I wasn’t so much of a freak that I’d be caught dead playing a fantasy RPG. My role-playing was strictly done on my video game consoles, thank you very much!

It’s definitely something I could’ve tried at university if I’d asked around. Come to think of it, D&D might’ve been the only controversial 70s substance that I didn’t experiment with. I was house-bound during much of my time at uni, due to debilitating anxieties that had festered into a mild agoraphobia. So unless several plucky would-be adventurers were going to show up on my doorstep, it was never going to happen.

Fortunately, for most of us, our twenties and a post-college life exist. So at age twenty-five I finally got to attempt the famous adventure game. In a matter of minutes I became Jim, from Work; a dark-elf rouge from the town of Work. Jim is a local bartender and friend to all. He’s happy to aid in other people’s needs and journeys, as long as you don’t bother him about his. I have no idea why I was drawn to this character sheet…

My brother, who I’ll refer to as DM from now on, set the scene by having us wake up in the middle of a forest after a night of drinking. The DM told us that we had forgotten the events of last night and that together we must figure out where we are and how we got there.

Our noble group consisted of; Lesley, a southern war-hungry barbarian with a heart of gold; Marv Hornswoggle, a charismatic half-elf bard; Jerry, a wood elf with a keen eye for fashion; Beric, a dexterous rogue with a sharp-tongue and equally sharp shot. Those guys along with myself (Jim, from Work) were the band of merry gents who had just woken up in the middle of the forrest.

We headed West to get our bearings and came across a local swamp farmer named Harnk. Harnk was also Southern American, just like Lesley and Marv, so I assumed that we were in the South of whatever land D&D is set in.

Harnk informed us that one of our group had drunkenly stolen some old bones that belonged to his family and he asked us to retrieve them. Jerry reclaimed his lawnmower from Harnk, that Harnk had borrowed last month and not returned. We thought about heading out and looking for the bones, but it was mid-noon by this point, and we were all ready for another round at a local tavern. So we sniffed one out, to wet the whistle ahead of our epic quest.

Along the way I rolled a strong perception check. I felt a pull towards an old crypt to the West, but I ignored it. I just really needed a god-damned drink.

We went to the tavern, which I think was called the Duck and Mongoose, and I bought us all a round. A group of five goblins that were sat in the corner of the tavern started giving us the stink-eye, so we approached them to inquire about the missing bones. It turned out that they had a huge cart filled with bones parked out front. So we quietly went outside with two of the goblins to take a look around.

Now we all knew just how this was going to go down. We were going to run these goblins through like the sacks of green ham they are and then take the bones. It was just a matter of strategy. Beric got himself into an advantageous position, and Jim (from Work) began to distract the goblins by having a quick parley. It was all going well until Jerry whipped out his flute and began to blow a little ditty on his personal pipe. A low charisma roll was made, leading to a poorly played tune and the other three goblins rushing from the tavern.

The five goblins almost decided to leave us alone, they were backing away as they realised they were no match for five adventurers. That’s when Marv decided to yell, “That’s right, get out of here you goblin bitches!” and proceeded to roll a charisma check, in which he rolled a one.

The fight was on. Jerry had given his lawnmower to Lesley, who was now attempting to use it as a weapon. Lesley swung and missed, but the grass outside the tavern was getting a damn-fine trim thanks to his efforts. Beric and Marv landed some hits, and eventually the rest of us managed to band together to dispatch the goblins. We had successfully won our first battle and the landlord bought us all a round of drinks to celebrate.

Marv found the bones we were looking for and we decided that we should take them to the mysterious crypt and not to Harnk, the local swamp farmer.

We journey’d through the forest and found the entrance to the crypt, where Harnk was waiting with a double-barrelled crossbow. So we killed him and Beric took his weapon. Before we murdered a local swamp farmer in cold blood, he warned us about a Banshee that lurks within the crypt, and that we would pay if we took the bones back there.

Bullshit! We were five adventurous filled with tits and ambition, who were also several meads deep. We were going into that crypt no matter the consequences.

I can’t really remember the specifics of how we broke the curse. It involved a lot of placing the bones on a central coffin, and then maybe in the coffin. There was also an old eyeball somewhere as well. Whatever happened, we accidentally brought forth two ghosts who each had the voices of Billy Connolly and Stephen Merchant. They too warned us of the encroaching banshee, before attacking us.

One of the ghosts was played by acclaimed actor and director Stephen Merchant.

Stephen Merchant ended up possessing Lesley, so I knew I had to exercise the spirit in order to get our strongest warrior back. I muttered the ancient incantation of “Stephen Merchant, please exit this host so you can make Ricky Gervais funny again!” and made the appropriate throw.

Jerry decided to fashion a rather smart-casual codpiece out of some leather, as the battle ensued. The DM rewarded this rather unorthodox move by increasing his stealth points. With Beric’s double-barrelled crossbow and Marv’s healing songs, we eventually dispatched the ghosts and ended the curse of the banshee.

We called time on the quest as we knew our characters would only be motivated to go right back to the tavern after this battle, and I was getting married the next day.

As far as I know, the lawnmower lived out the rest of its life at the Duck and Mongoose, happily mowing the grass and downing meads.

It was a lot of fun and I highly recommend it as something to try at least once. I didn’t realise how much influence you can have on the narrative just by saying something sarcastically that then becomes a check of some kind. I imagine that serious players would’ve hated the kind of campaign we had, that was largely centred around each of us trying to make the others laugh.

There are much worse ways to spend five hours. Although I’m told a typical campaign is closer to five-thousand hours, and I can’t think that there are worse ways to spend that much time. So, like everything else in life, take D&D in moderation, and remember your trusty lawnmower!

It’s Monday the 14th of May, and my cat is off her tits on nip.

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