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Adventures on the Sword Coast: A Tale of Retribution, Vander, and Radley

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Feel free to explore the depths of the Sword Coast with us as we unravel the mysteries and face the dangers that await our brave adventurers!
Adventures on the Sword Coast: A Tale of Retribution, Vander, and Radley

Our brave adventurers!

Welcome to our journey through the Forgotten Realms, where the Sword Coast's mysteries and dangers await intrepid adventurers. Join us as we follow the tales of Retribution, Vander, and Radley, three unlikely companions united by fate and driven by visions and dreams. In this blog post, we'll delve into their adventures, strategic decisions, and the rich world they navigate. Dungeon Mastered and the log written by Sean Scanlon


Day One: The story begins at the gates of Yatar, where Retribution (a Tiefling Paladin), Vander (a Drow Rogue), and Radley (a Human Fighter) meet for the first time. Their paths converge as they navigate the city's streets, encountering a mysterious woman named Mirabelle who experiences prophetic seizures. Retribution receives a vision urging him to "seek wisdom," setting the trio on a quest for answers.

Day Two: Compelled by their dreams, the adventurers decide to journey east. Along the way, they encounter dwarves in distress and face the monstrous ankhegs. Despite initial reluctance, the group aids the dwarves and continues their journey, driven by visions of Mirabelle.

Day Three: Their journey brings them face-to-face with Abner, a quirky gnome, and later, a group of goblins. The adventurers engage in battles, form alliances with new companions, and explore a mysterious cave. Inside, they confront an owlbear and uncover ancient secrets, pushing them further toward their ultimate goal.

Day One:

The story begins in the Forgotten Realms, in the region of Faerun known as The Sword Coast. The adventurers: Retribution (Tiefling - Paladin), Vander (Drow - Rogue), and Radley (Human - Fighter) are strangers to each other and gathered outside the Western gate of the City of Yatar. After observing them as heavily armed and armored adventurers, the gate officer queues them with some other crusty “swords for hire” types to ask their business. Retribution and Vander speculate whether it is actually because of their Tiefling and Drow lineages. However, they find the rank-and-file sentries are lax in their duties and wave them through with only half an ear to their statements. The collection of mercenaries, rogues, and hucksters then disperse into the city's streets.

Vander locates a tavern called One Foot in The Boat. Soon after, he spies both Radley and Retribution entering separately. Recognizing them from the gate, he sizes them up as easy marks and offers them a drink. He believes a Tiefling (displaying the heraldry from the Order of The Gauntlet) and a human rube fresh from a small village will be easy pickings. They pass some idle conversation, and after introductions, wander the tavern to mingle with other patrons. Radley convinces a winsome half-elven minstrel to play them a song, while Vander speaks with a tough-looking halfling nicknamed Mittens. When Radley and Vander speculate on why he is called that, a passing bar wench says he used to be a bare-knuckles boxing champion. After a brief conversation, Mittens decides he likes the Drow’s moxie and spots Vander a drink. The Drow then turns his attention to a pretentious news-cryer, with a messenger bag full of sanitation notices.

Abruptly, at the opposite side of the bar, a slender young woman bundled in a shawl and headscarf (Mirabelle) experiences a seizure. Her burly sister (Margery), a large woman with shocking red hair, pushes other patrons aside to make space. Despite Mirabelle's distress, the local patrons seem accustomed to her episodes. Mirabelle stands rigidly with her head cast back and arms outspread. She then speaks, proclaiming a litany of nonsensical yet prophetic-sounding phrases before the fit subsides. Then her sister guides her back down to her chair. The tavern patrons are heard to say she should be sent away to a nunnery or asylum. Others speculate about whether she can see the future and if her words are meaningful. However, Margery angrily implores the patrons to just leave them alone.

Meanwhile, Retribution sees none of this occur. Instead, he lapses into a vision. He sees an unnaturally slender woman with an alabaster complexion. She is bathed in a soft nimbus and is attired in rich ivory robes, sitting on an ancient stone throne, with a blooming dogwood tree behind her. The throne is overgrown with lush vines and draped with a score of serpents. The woman releases a single white dove and looks to Retribution saying, "Seek Wisdom." Retribution emerges from his vision as Mirabelle collapses into her chair.

Moved by his vision, Retribution tells his new companions that he needs to seek a temple in the city. Due to the pale woman's near elvish appearance, he decides to find a shrine of Corellon Larethian. The elven priestess there can make no sense of his vision. He also informs her that he was told to "seek wisdom." At a loss, the priestess tells him the search for wisdom is often a lifelong journey, but in the absence of more specific information, it is hard to be helpful. She does tell him that true visions are often a blessing from powerful entities. They may seem enigmatic at first. However, the signs may gain greater clarity if he can recognize them outside the vision. And that in time, visions often reveal themselves to the patient and observant.

Without specific direction, the adventurers puzzle over what to do next. They return to the One Foot In The Boat tavern, where most of the previous patrons have departed. However, the half-elven minstrel is still there, and they ask her what she knows about the fey. She then sings them a dark ballad of fey who prey upon children. Unnerved, Retribution convincingly tells her he has received a vision from an entity he believes to be a fey. The woman becomes fearful and gathers her possessions to leave. She says she has an appointment to keep and is late for a tutoring session with a patron. Retribution implores her to stay and tell him more. But all she will say is that the fey are fickle and dangerous, and if he truly has had visions from them, that is a terrible portent. She then hurries towards the exit. Retribution will not be evaded so easily, and attempts to restrain her by the arm. However, she is adept at dodging overly eager men in taverns and easily eludes his clumsy grasp. With a yell of alarm, she runs out of the tavern. With the eyes of all the tavern patrons now on them, they let her go. Some cackle crudely while others give them hard stares. Withdrawing from the tavern, the party spends the remainder of the day speculating about whether they could review the city census records, and maybe find anyone named Wisdom. In the end, they find an inn to rest for the evening.

Day Two:

Retribution sees Mirabelle attired in robes much finer than those she wore before. She is looking out a window to the east where a golden light shines through the glass panes. She turns to him and he sees her face is no longer haggard and emaciated. Her demeanor is confident and her features comely. She only speaks two words, "Seek Wisdom." Retribution wakes with a compelling sense of urgency in his chest. Likewise, Vander has a dream of Mirabelle, but in it, the details are vague, and the only thing he sees clearly is her face. She does not speak but stares emotionlessly into his eyes. However, like Retribution, he also wakes with an undefined sense of urgency. They decide not to tarry in Yatar. They conclude they should journey east in the direction of Mirabelle's gaze and the source of the golden light.

The party takes time to provision themselves for a journey into the unknown, with just the vague clues of a dream to guide them. After passing through the outlying farms and homesteads of Yatar, they find an overturned cart on the road. Three dwarves are standing atop an outcropping of rocks waving wildly to them in apparent distress. The party cannot hear what they're yelling. Suspicious, Vander climbs a nearby tree. Radley and Retribution survey the area when suddenly there's a mighty upheaval of earth. An ankheg bursts to the surface. After unsuccessfully biting at Radley, the party strikes at it. Battered, the ankheg spits acid on Retribution. He ducks most of the stream, but some of the caustic spittle splashes over him. The creature does not survive long between the attacks of the three adventurers.

However, the dwarves continue to frantically wave to the adventurers, and Radley and Retribution soon join them. Vander descends from the tree and investigates the cart to see if there is anything valuable to steal. He finds only crates of stone, some food, and camp supplies. He then joins his companions and the dwarves. The dwarves tell them there were two of the creatures, and the second is undoubtedly still out there. They explain they’re brothers on their way to Yatar with a lot of quartz, but have been trapped on the rocks for three days. Their ox was eaten by the creatures after their cart was overturned. They ran to these rocks for safety and have been trapped since. Yesterday, their fourth brother tried to retrieve some supplies from the cart. They’ve been without food, water, or shelter. Sure enough, the monsters were still out there waiting. He was torn apart and dragged beneath the ground.

Vander and Radley are completely unsympathetic to their plight, and Vander shakes them down for their 40 silver pieces. The party shames the dwarves and tells them they should have fought the ankhegs themselves. The brothers try to explain they are just miners and tradesfolk. Had it been kobolds they could try, but these creatures are too strong for them. The party only gives them their scorn. After an hour's rest, Vander and Radley are impatient and stride out to the road to provoke the remaining ankheg. Their efforts are immediately successful. Retribution convinces the dwarves that this is their chance to make a break for it, and the three run for their lives. The party’s fight with the ankheg ends quickly under the onslaught of the adventurers' combined attacks.

The party spends an uneventful evening in a well-used campsite they find near the end of the day. However, Retribution and Vander are again visited by compelling dreams of Mirabelle and wake with a sense of urgency drawing them further eastward.

Day Three:

On the road East for a second day, the party crosses paths with a westbound gnome accompanied by a mule laden with wares and a monkey riding atop. The gnome waves merrily and asks where the others are. The party asks him what he means, and he muses, "Ah ha, our first meeting." When asked what is meant by that, he dismisses the question and introduces himself as Abner. A traveling tinker… cobbler of shoes, mender of pots, coiffer of hair, and tuner of lute strings. He also introduces his mule Percival and monkey named Puffy. He claims to have common items from exotic locales, such as a teapot from the City of Brass, paprika from the City of Dis, a silken scarf from Menzoberranzan, a door knocker from Sigil, etc. Vander inquires how he got to the City of Brass, and Abner clarifies that he got it from a Tiefling, who won it from a fire giant, who bought it from an efreet. With no immediate offers to buy anything, he offers more common wares from common locations, such as a blanket, candlesticks, or some rope. Vander inquires about the price of the scarf and Abner asks for five gold pieces. After some quick negotiations, he is talked down to three. Lastly, Abner produces a small cask and shakes it, proclaiming it contains Uncle Beauregard's Premium Vigor Tonic, a remedy for whatever ails you. When asked about what it does, Abner explains that it makes you happy and sometimes makes you think you're more charismatic. Although, it can also make you very ill the next morning. But it really packs a punch! And you can sample a draught for a mere 50 gold pieces. The party universally declines. Concluding he has made his only sale, he packs up and continues westward down the road. The party momentarily ponders killing him and taking everything he has. But with the opportunity for easy murder out of arm's reach, they are too lazy to chase after him and exercise their sociopathic ideations.

After parting company, the party journeys further down the road. An hour later, they hear the frantic ringing of a small bell. Percival the mule gallops by still pulling Abner's cart with the tiny bell jangling from it. Chasing the mule is a pussy cat, with Abner running past in last place. The party is puzzled by his abrupt reappearance on the road, arriving in the opposite direction he had departed from. He also seems to have changed clothes, but he still cheerily greets the party as he hastens by. He huffs that he hasn't a moment to spare, yelling, "They're right behind me!" Retribution decides to prevent his departure and grabs at the gnome. However, the little fellow is too wily and continues to flee down the road. Looking back east, they see a bugbear and a trio of goblins pursuing the gnome. A goblin exclaims, "That's not him!" And the bugbear retorts, "But they also look like good eating." Wasting no time, Vander immediately kills one of the goblins with a bow shot and retreats backward. Retribution and Radley close with the bugbear to engage in a slugfest. Meanwhile, the two remaining goblins split left and right, shooting arrows and seeking cover. Vander quickly dispatches a second goblin as handily as the first. However, the third goblin gets the drop on him and he is felled. Retribution leaves the bugbear to Radley, and he runs to aid Vander. Radley is able to kill the bugbear after it swipes at the withdrawing Tiefling. Vander regains consciousness when Retribution uses Lay on Hands. Standing up, Vander kills the last goblin with an arrow as it attempts to flee the battle.

Day Three Continued:

Thalnum (Hill Dwarf - Cleric) and Icarus (High Elf - Bard) are two traveling strangers that have struck up together on their journey westward toward Yatar. Abruptly, a mule pulling a cart, a pussy cat, and a gnome quickly run past. The gnome cheerily greets the two companions and says, “Oh, there you two are!" And then says, "Don’t go that way" (gesturing eastward), it's dangerous.” The gnome continues to jog hastily down the road. Thalnum looks to Icarus and asks him if he knew that gnome. Icarus says that he does not. However, the sounds of combat draw them eastward in time for them to see Vander slay a fleeing goblin. Seeing the other adventurers, Thalnum sizes up the scene as a botched attempt of highway robbery, whereas Icarus shares Vander's belief that these fools will be easy to steal from. There is a brief standoff as Vander inquires whether Thalnum and Icarus are brigands like the goblins. The dwarf assures the Drow-elf that he is not a goblin and his intentions were to investigate the sound of battle. A truce is reached and Radley and Retribution (speaking in absentia) tell them of the vision the Tiefling had in Yatar, and the dream-like visitation of Mirabelle Retribution and Vander have experienced the past two nights. There is some speculation about whether such a vision could be trusted, and they conclude that opinions on that are as varied as the people they have asked. The party asks the dwarf and elf whether they know anybody named Wisdom. They say they do not, but join the party for the opportunity to find adventure and riches.

Not long after, the party sees a trio of goblins fishing with spears in a stream. Vander and Radley seek the cover of nearby trees to ambush the goblins while they’re unaware. But Icarus decides to parley instead and approaches while strumming his lute. The goblins leap up defensively, although Vander is unseen by them, they are still intimidated by the nearby armed and armored Radley and Thalnum, and decide against violence. Then the goblins suggest they could trade together. The party offers gold, but the goblins balk, declaring their gold is worthless in the wilderness. Icarus then offers his pan flute which the goblins are enraptured by. They agree and offer fishbones, river stones, sticks, and bits of fur. Their wares are unagreeable to the party, and Thalnum tells them the fish bones are more valuable when there is meat on them. The smallest goblin, excited by the prospect of the flute, begins wildly stabbing into the stream in the hopes of spearing a fish. The goblin leader offers information. When asked what kind of information, he tells them he knows the location of a magic cave. Intrigued, the party agrees on the condition the goblins lead them to it. They are hesitant at first, but Thalnum reasons the adventurers don’t know where the cave is. Finding no flaw in his logic, the goblins lead on. Twenty minutes later, the party sees an opening in the hillside with a stream gushing from it. They give the pan flute to the goblins, and a brawl ensues among them. The goblins caper away through the brush as each grabs for the flute. A shrill screeching noise can periodically be heard from the direction they went.

Inside, the tunnel opens into a grotto. At the far end, there is a spring-fed waterfall that fills a basin. The stream flows through the center of the cave from that pool. Radley lights a torch to make his way and keeps to the rear of his darkness-adroit companions. Vander is in the vanguard, and is first to see a beastly figure rising from the ground. It has great claws and hungry predator's eyes, and he realizes he is facing an owlbear. It charges forward, mauling the Drow. Vander withdraws behind his companions after attacking with his bow. Then Icarus is nearly slain also after casting Thunderclap at the creature. Hearing monstrous roars, and seeing his bloody companions running away from out of the darkness, he too turns for the tunnel opening. Whereas Thalnum charges forward striking at the creature. Hearing the bard's rallying words, and realizing his companions are now counterattacking, Radley charges back. He strikes the owlbear with his sword. After a brief but brutal melee, the owlbear is dispatched by Thalnum's Sacred Flame cantrip. Though victorious, the adventurers are all battered and take an hour to rest.

After defeating the owlbear, the party takes time to mend and pluck the owlbear. Thalnum is dedicated to the idea of eating the beast. Eventually, Thalnum, Radley, and Vander explore the cave while Icarus stays back. The three of them find heaps of carrion, swarmed by clouds of flies left over from previous owlbear kills. Atop the waterfall, they see a statue of a goddess. Studying it from below, Thalnum concludes it's not representative of any of the major deities, and is likely a celestial figure placed here to ensure the spring's purity. He also ascertains that it was made by humans (not dwarves) and is several centuries old. With some difficulty, Vander and Radley manage to climb up to the falls, although the wet rocks make it challenging. Once up, Radley ties a rope around the statue allowing Vander to ascend more easily. Examining the statue, it bears no arcane runes or gives any evidence of it being magical. They begin to speculate whether the goblins were being honest with them. Peering down into the pool from the falls, it is difficult to see to the bottom as Radley's torch light reflects off the water, and the waterfall makes the surface turbulent. However, from the bank, Thalnum sees a skeletal corpse 15 feet away at the pool's bottom. It is devoid of flesh but is still adorned with its possessions. Thalnum strips off his armor and equipment and dives in. As he swims towards the bottom, he becomes aware of a pecking and a tugging at his hair. Looking about, he sees a swarm of fish (quippers) gathering around him. Undaunted, he continues downward in the hopes of discovering treasure or clues. However, as the fish continue to gather, they become more aggressive and start biting. Vander and Radley begin to grow concerned when Thalnum doesn't reappear. Then Vander believes he sees an inky cloud (of blood) on the water's surface, but it is quickly washed down the stream. After several minutes, Thalnum fails to emerge again.

Strategic Analysis:

Character Dynamics:

  • Retribution (Tiefling Paladin): His visions and sense of duty drive the group's moral compass. His strength and combat prowess provide a solid frontline defense.
  • Vander (Drow Rogue): The Rogue's cunning and stealth are invaluable for scouting and surprise attacks. His morally ambiguous nature creates tension but also opens opportunities for unconventional solutions.
  • Radley (Human Fighter): The Fighter's straightforward approach balances the team, offering brute strength and resilience in battle.
  • Thalnum (Hill Dwarf Cleric): As a Cleric, Thalnum provides crucial healing and support to the party. His knowledge of religion and ancient lore adds depth to the group's understanding of their quests. His combat skills with a warhammer and divine spells offer a mix of offensive and defensive capabilities.
  • Icarus (High Elf Bard): The Bard's charisma and musical talents enhance the party's interactions with NPCs and inspire his companions in battle. Icarus's spells and versatility in combat provide both magical and strategic advantages, making him a key figure in the group's overall dynamic.

Campaign Highlights:

  • Mystery and Exploration: The narrative blends combat with exploration, encouraging players to think critically about their surroundings and potential clues.
  • Combat Strategy: Encounters with creatures like ankhegs and owlbears test the group's ability to strategize and adapt, emphasizing teamwork and resource management.
  • Role-Playing Opportunities: Interactions with NPCs like Mirabelle, Abner, and the goblins add depth to the story, allowing players to engage in rich role-playing experiences.


Q: What inspired this campaign setting? A: The campaign is set in the rich and detailed world of the Forgotten Realms, specifically the Sword Coast, known for its diverse landscapes and deep lore.

Q: How do visions and dreams influence the campaign? A: Visions and dreams serve as narrative devices to guide the characters' decisions, adding layers of mystery and purpose to their journey.

Q: What challenges do the adventurers face? A: The group faces both physical challenges, like battling monsters, and moral dilemmas, such as deciding whether to help NPCs or pursue their goals.

Q: How does character alignment affect the story? A: Character alignment influences interactions and decision-making, creating dynamic and sometimes conflicting perspectives within the group.

Extensive Glossary:

  • Ankheg: A large, burrowing insect-like creature known for its corrosive acid and ambush tactics.
  • Corellon Larethian: The primary deity of the Elves, associated with magic, art, and beauty.
  • Drow: A race of dark elves known for their underground societies and complex, often treacherous politics.
  • Fey: Magical creatures from the Feywild, a parallel plane of existence, known for their whimsical and often capricious nature.
  • Forgotten Realms: A campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons, rich with history, magic, and diverse cultures.
  • Gauntlet, Order of The: A faction dedicated to protecting the realm from evil, often through martial prowess and strict discipline.
  • Owlbear: A monstrous creature with the body of a bear and the head of an owl, known for its ferocity and strength.
  • Paladin: A holy warrior sworn to uphold justice and righteousness, often receiving divine visions and guidance.
  • Quippers: Small, carnivorous fish known for their aggressive swarming behavior.
  • Tiefling: A race with infernal heritage, often facing prejudice due to their demonic appearance.