Here’s a little introductory backstory I wrote for two of my players in a 5e D&D campaign I started some time ago. I used much of the Lost Mine of Phandelver, the adventure that comes with the 5th Edition Starter Set, but placed the story in my own home-brew world. This short story was meant to give a little explanation of why the PCs met up with the rest of the group to start their adventure.
The brightness of the morning burned at the gnome’s eyes as the dwarf hurried him down a back alley. The dwarf pulled the small figure along, urging the groggy gnome to keep up. They threaded there way through bustling city streets but their progress was slower than the dwarf wanted. The gnome repeatedly tripped and fell as he stumbled behind. The drugs that had kept the gnome obedient for so long still coursed through his veins, sapping his strength. After untold years of dazed servitude, trapped in a sunless dungeon, Jebedda was finally free.
It wasn’t until the sun began to set that Jebedda’s head began to clear. Oban, his dwarf companion, sat across from him at a small wooden table. They occupied a dark corner of a busy tavern. The gnome couldn’t recall how they’d come to be here or how long he’d been sitting at this table. Oban shoved a bowl filled with stew in front of the gnome.
“Stop staring. Eat.”
Jebedda obliged. He eagerly devouring the weak broth, chunks of stringy meat and soft vegetables. Never had he tasted anything so delicious.
“Where are we?” Jebbeda managed to ask between mouthfuls.
Dwarf smiled, apparently pleased that the gnome was finally speaking. “West end. The Feathered Sandal. Cheap but safe. We’ll stay the night and figure where we’re goin’ in the morn.”
“We will be going in the morning?”
“Yup. Away and quick. We gotta get outta here. Outta the city. Folks will be lookin’ fer us.”
Jebedda looked down at his now empty bowl. They were now free, but he was having a hard time remembering where they’d escaped from. With a jolt he recalled that his parents had been trapped with him too.
“My parents. Where are they?”
Oban took a moment to consider before responding, “No way a knowin’. Ain’t seen ’em fer months. Don’t ya remember? Not nothin’?”
Try as he might, the gnome could only recall figments and flashes of his incarceration. Strange magical sigils. Vials of bubbling liquids. Robed figures bent examining unseen objects.
There were only two things the gnome remembered clearly; the hatred he felt for his jailer’s every time he was thrown into his cell, and the embroidered pattern that was emblazoned on his captor’s robes – five spiraling arms surrounding a reptilian eye.
Jebedda’s attention was drawn to a halfling who quietly walked past their table. The halfling discretely dropped a folded piece of parchment into Oban’s lap before disappearing back into the crowded room. The dwarf hastily opened the paper and read its message. His mouth broken into a wide smile.
“Jebedda! Fantastic Luck! Friend out in Tallais could use some help. We’re gettin’ outta here at first light. Have ya ever heard of a place called Phandalin?”
sketch by:Javier Charro