OK D&D fam. Let’s write a Dungeons & Dragons campaign together. It features an awakened beaver named Mr. Chompers, so you know you want to keep reading. Here we go.
I run a D&D Club for kids. I’m three years in at this point. It’s great fun, and I’ve just started the six-week Fall I session.
Last campaign, the party came across an NPC called Mr. Chompers,* an awakened beaver who was selling things out of his roadside cart. The kids loved Mr. Chompers and he briefly joined the party. At one point, the kids wanted to inspect his cart and I had them find a small box containing a lock of hair. When pressed, Mr. Chompers said he got it from the young boy who cast the spell that awakened him. The beaver wants to find the boy and the hair is the only clue he has, so he keeps it in hopes that somehow, someday it might help him find the magical boy. The campaign continued, Mr. Chompers went away, and that was that.
Since my favorite thing to do is take a minor NPC or throw-away situation from one campaign and make it the thrust of another, I’m focusing on Mr. Chompers’ story.
In short, the boy wants the hair back.
I struggled with “why” all week, and when that happens I look at base assumptions and go from there. First, I assume the hair came from the boy’s head. Next, I assume it’s the boy’s own hair. What if neither of those things are true?
What if the boy has moved on from beavers, chipmunks and other harmless woodland creatures, and is now awakening dangerous beasts to do his bidding? These animals like their awakened state, and the boy keeps them subservient by threatening to take it away. Perhaps he can only awaken a member of a certain species if he has a lock of its hair. He only had one sample of hair from [beast x], his ultimate goal, and that damn beaver stole it.
Last week, session one, the kids built their new tavern only to have it partially blown up with “goblin fire,” an especially incendiary explosive that goblins in the region produce. This will prompt the party to raid the nearby goblin encampment and slay several, I assume, until they confront the leader about the attack and the goblin fire. That NPC will say something along the lines of “We already gave you all we have.” They realize the goblins aren’t the bad guys (after killing several oops) and we’re off to the races.
I mean, as bored as I am with “BBEG needs [x] to [complete ritual],” it seems to fit here. What do you think? Any tweaks?
*All of this was made up on-the-fly. The party was traveling from Point A to Point B, and I wanted them to have a roadside encounter. I decided on a traveling vendor and just to make it fun, I made him a beaver. These players never trust anyone, so of course they wanted to stealthily examine his cart. A high roll meant I had to come up with something so I created a “long, slender box that’s clearly been tucked away from the items that are for sale.” What’s in the box? I don’t know, a lock of hair. Why does the beaver have hair in a box? Er, because he took it from the person who awaked him, who was…a young boy. The boy ran away, the beaver kept the hair.
The DM’ing lesson here is trust yourself. Make up anything, be brave, just start talking. Whatever comes out of your mouth is awesome and the party will love it. Lean into it. My players had so much fun with Mr. Chompers — A dumb little NPC I pulled out of my backside — that he’s a big part of a campaign now. Trust yourself, just start talking, and lean into it. You’ll have a blast.