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Roll for Initiative

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The lights are low, the air thick with anticipation. Six people sit around a table, a mess of papers covered in scrawled notes and strategies scattered between them all. In the center of the table stand five figurines: a goliath barbarian, a high elf fighter, a half-elf rogue, a halfling cleric, and a human fighter. A flimsy barrier has been erected to hide one end of the table from prying eyes. 

From one of the players comes the wry observation: “Well, we fucked that up.” 

It’s as if his words are the spark that light the fireworks. 

“We!? Point the blame at our newest player--”

“Look, I’m sorry--” 

“The blame doesn’t all rest on--” 

“Oh, come on--!” 

“I said I--”

“We’d have been fine if you’d stuck to the plan!”

“You could have called it off--” 

“Would you all shut up.”

There’s a stunned silence in response to the youngest’s shout. And then, finally, from behind the barrier: “If you all would like to continue the session…” 

There is a heavy, sullen mood as you return to the Howe. The wounded file towards the healers, while those who had remained behind to protect your base read the failure in your dejected arrival and begin to grieve those who did not return. One of the centaur women sobs, desolated by the loss of her family. 

Edmund: Wow, way to guilt-trip us.

Hey, you’re the ones who failed to capture the castle. What do you do now? 

Peter: I draw my sword.

Susan: Oh, for gods sake.

Uh, okay. You draw your sword. And do what? 

Peter: I point it at Caspian.

Caspian: Hey!

Susan: Is this necessary?

Peter: And I say… If you’d kept to the plan, those soldiers would be alive right now.

Caspian: And if you’d stayed here like I’d suggested, they definitely would be! 

Is that your response?  

Caspian: Yes. And I draw my sword, too. 

Susan: Oh my god. 

Lucy: What, are you comparing lengths or something? 

Peter & Caspian: [indecipherable sputtering]

Edmund: While they’re dicking around, I go check on Trumpkin. 

He’s badly injured. Still unconscious, a bloody wound over his eye. Lucy managed to save him from death rolls when you were fighting at the castle, but that just means he’s at 1HP right now.

Lucy: I use my Cordial of the Fire Flowers to heal him, then.

You let a drop fall into Trumpkin’s mouth and wait. For several seconds, nothing appears to happen--then colour returns to his face, the wound on his head knits together, and his eyes open. “Thank you,” he says. Lucy, your cordial is now down to 4 charges.

Lucy: Worth it.

Trumpkin looks around at all of you and says, “What are you all still standing around for? The Telmarines will be here soon.” 

Susan: He’s right, we should be planning our next move. Plus, I still need a Long Rest. I’m going inside the Howe. 

Edmund: So do I.

Lucy: Yeah, I’ll go inside.

Alright. Trumpkin will go with you. Caspian and Peter, do you two continue, uh, comparing swords? 

Peter & Caspian: [more indecipherable spluttering]

I’ll take that as a no.

Cordial of the Fire Flowers

Remaining Charges: 4

A red cordial in a clear diamond bottle, made from the juice of the fire-flowers that grow in the mountains of the sun.

A few drops of this potion will restore full hit points. Takes two rounds of initiative to administer.

Item has a maximum of 10 charges. Each dawn, the cordial regains half of 1d4 expended charges, rounded down. If the last charge is expended, the diamond bottle shatters into stardust and is destroyed.

Note: This potion will not restore severed limbs or missing body parts.

As your Long Rest comes to an end, Caspian is met by Nikabrik the dwarf. He says he has something to show you deeper in the caves. 

Caspian: Sure, lead the way.

Peter: Just Caspian, or was he talking to all of us? 

Nikabrik was speaking only to Caspian, but you all can roll perception to see if you overheard or notice as they’re leaving.

I see a three, a two, a nine… and a five? Apparently you’re all oblivious. Caspian and Nikabrik leave completely unnoticed by the rest of you. 

Lucy: Because we’re all just staring at the walls or something.

Edmund: Admiring our likenesses. 

Lucy: I mean, those wall carvings are probably better than anything we had commissioned back during our reign. 

Peter: Maybe that’s the real reason Caspian’s so grumpy. He’s jealous of our wall art. 

Caspian: I haven’t been grumpy!

Peter: Have so.

Caspian: If anyone’s been--

ANYWAYS, Caspian? Come into the other room with me for a sec. And bring your dice. 

Lucy: Whuh-oh.

Rolls - Caspian

Insight Check: 12

History Check: 4

Intelligence Check: 4 

Wisdom Saving Throw: 5

And we’re back. Thanks for waiting, team. Caspian, you good? 

Caspian: Uh, well. I mean--

Great! The other four of you have been hanging out closer to the entrance of the Howe. What have you all been up to? 

Lucy: Helping the healers. There’s a lot of other injured from our castle raid, I bet. I’m helping them out. 

Edmund: I think I’m helping out there, too. Following Lucy’s lead, she’s the healer.

Susan: I’m definitely going through supplies and stuff because it looks like we might be in for a siege or something. 

Peter: I start sharpening my sword. 

Caspian: You know there’s more to D&D than swinging a sword, right? 

Peter: You know I’ve been playing a lot longer than you have, right? 

Sharpening a sword. Got it. Okay, and Susan’s sorting through supplies, Ed and Lu are helping the healers… okay. That’s what you’re all doing when you feel the temperature in the caves plummet significantly. One minute, everything’s normal--it’s a little cool because you’re underground, but not cold enough to bother you. And then without warning, it’s like you’ve stepped into a walk-in freezer. You can see your breath, frost is crawling up the walls, your skin feels almost numb--you get the idea. 

Edmund: Can we tell where it’s coming from? 

All four of you, roll me a perception check… Okay, Peter and Edmund can see that the frost build-up seems to be thicker at the entrance to one of the tunnels.

Peter: I draw my sword--

Susan: Wasn’t your sword already out?

Peter: And go running into the tunnel to see what’s causing the cold.

Edmund: I’ll go after him. 

Lucy: I’m not staying behind! 

Susan: I grab my bow and follow. 

Lucy, since you and Edmund were together, you’re right behind him and Peter. Susan, since you were off by the supplies, it takes you a little longer to figure out where everyone is going so you’re going to be farther behind everyone as you go into the tunnels. 

But all four of you do head in the right direction. Having noticed the frost, Peter and Edmund, it’s easy for you to follow the path through the tunnels. And pretty quickly, you can figure out where it’s leading you: to the cavern with the Stone Table. 

Susan: Oh, I don’t like that.

Four figures are standing on the far side of the Stone Table: a werewolf, a hag, Nikabrik the dwarf… and Caspian.

Caspian: Hey, guys.

Caspian, who cannot talk because he is currently paralyzed on a circular glyph of warding. 

Peter: What the fuck. 

Lucy: You were gone for like, a minute! How did you--?

Caspian: They had some really good persuasion rolls? 

Behind these four, between two stone pillars, is a wall of ice. And behind that wall of ice is the floating, ghostly form of a tall woman with snow-white hair and ice-green eyes--

Edmund: Fuck no. 

Lucy: We fought an entire campaign just to get rid of her! And you’re bringing her back?

Technically, Caspian’s the one bringing her back, considering he’s the one in the middle of the spell circle at the moment. 

Lucy: Caspian!

Peter: I charge forward. 

Alright. Everyone, roll me some initiative!

Excerpt from the DM’s Encounter Notes:

Round 1:

Werewolf attacks Edmund with Claws. Misses Edmund entirely and lands on the floor.

Nikabrik attacks Trumpkin with Shortsword. Trumpkin parries the attack. 

Peter attacks Hag with Greatsword. Hag dodges. 

White Witch casts Freezing Sphere. Only Lucy rolls higher than the DC for halved damage. Everyone else takes 19 cold damage.

Caspian , paralyzed on the glyph of warding, fails his wisdom saving throw. Hold Person remains in place.

Susan uses Dash action to sprint 60 ft. and finally reaches the Stone Table Room. 

Edmund makes a two-weapon attack on Werewolf with Shortswords. First attack misses. Second attack hits, Werewolf takes 8 damage.

Hag casts Disarm on Peter. Peter fails the saving throw and drops his sword.

Trumpkin attacks Nikabrik with Shortsword. Wounds Nikabrik for 7 piercing damage.

Lucy attacks Nikabrik with Dagger. Wounds Nikabrik for 6 piercing damage.

Round 2: 

Werewolf attacks Edmund with Bite. Misses Edmund.

Nikabrik attacks Lucy with Shortsword. Wounds Lucy for 6 piercing damage. 

Peter enters a Rage and attacks Hag with Unarmed Strike. Hag is thrown against stone pillar and killed.

White Witch casts Frostbite at Peter. Peter rolls a successful constitution save.

Caspian fails his wisdom saving throw. Hold Person remains in place. 

Susan fires an arrow at White Witch with Longbow for 5 piercing damage. 

Edmund makes a two-weapon attack on Werewolf with Shortswords. First attack misses. Second attack hits, Werewolf is killed by a strike to the head. Edmund uses his bonus action to hide. 

Trumpkin attacks Nikabrik with Shortsword for 9 piercing damage. Nikabrik is slain.

Lucy casts Beacon of Hope on Peter, Edmund, Caspian, Trumpkin, and Susan. All gain advantage on Wisdom and Death saving throws, and regain max hit points possible from healing.

Round 3:

Peter , still in Rage, makes an Unarmed Strike at Caspian to push him from the glyph of warding. Ends up on the glyph himself. Peter fails the wisdom saving throw against Hold Person.

Whether it’s Peter’s shove or the magical shock of leaving the glyph of warding, something happens to you, Caspian. Something stirs in your blood, something deep and wild and howling to break free. What do you do? 

Caspian: I give in. My hair grows long, my nails lengthen into claws, my face shifts as I drop to all fours…

Peter: Wait, what? 

Lucy: Are you--?

Susan & Edmund: No way.

Caspian: Now in wolf form, I leap towards the ice wall to attack the witch with my claws. 

Peter: You’re a wolf.

Caspian: Technically a shifter.

Susan: He’s been a shifter this whole time?? 


Lucy: This is the best thing ever.

Caspian, your attack lands. Roll for damage. 

White Witch casts Frostbite at Susan, who fails her constitution saving throw and takes 5 damage plus disadvantage on next weapon attack roll. 

Susan fires an arrow at White Witch with Longbow (at disadvantage) for 4 piercing damage. 

Edmund uses Sneak Attack to attack the Witch from behind with Shortsword for 22 damage. Uses two-weapon fighting to make a second attack with Shortsword. Rolls a nat 20, deals double damage of 16 hit points. 

And just like that, the wall of ice shatters. The witch splinters and vanishes as the spell dissipates, leaving behind nothing but sharp crystals and broken blocks of ice. Congratulations, you all have prevented the return of the White Witch! 

Peter: Does this mean I can move now? 

Yes, the spell circle’s power is broken. You are no longer paralyzed. 

Peter: I draw my sword. 

Edmund: You hadn’t even put your sword away!

Peter: And I point it at Caspian.

Caspian: I growl at you, threateningly. 

Susan: Why would you even do that, Peter? He’s on our side.

Peter: Is he? 

Susan: Are you, Caspian? 

Caspian: I growl louder. 

Susan: I don’t want to hurt Caspian if I don’t have to, so I’m going to… I think I’m going to ready a spell. 

Caspian: I keep growling. 

Lucy: Can someone roll to seduce the werewolf?

The dead werewolf? Or..? 

Lucy: Ew, no. Caspian, obviously. 

Caspian: Technically, I’m not a werewolf, I’m a shifter. But I won’t contest it if that’s where we’re going with this.

Lucy: I’m definitely rolling to seduce you. Unless Peter wants a try, first?

The air is tense with anticipation. Half-hidden behind their screen, the Dungeon Master runs a hand through their hair and sighs heavily. “Okay, roll… persuasion, I guess… to seduce wolf-Caspian. Or animal handling, maybe? Whichever one you want, I guess.” 

Across the table, a finger runs down a list of proficiency bonuses. The hand moves to the twenty-sided die waiting beside the character sheet, lifts it to the mouth for a good-luck kiss, and casts it. 

The die spins, clatters, settles. 

There’s dead silence. 


“Are you fucking serious!”

“Oh my god.”


“I can’t believe it.”


“Excellent, my halfling lover, let’s do this.” 

“Oh my god.”

Behind their barrier, the Dungeon Master buries their face in their hands. “Why,” they bemoan, “Why do you all do this to me every time?”