“Towering over the small middle-aged priest, the Goliath man held out the unmoving body of the direwolf. He asked with a tenderness unusual from the mouth of a half-giant for the priest to heal the dying beast. The priest kneeled down as his hands began to glow, calling upon the magic of Pelor unto himself. The Goliath was ever present throughout the process, his tension almost palpable on the priests neck. Finally, the wolf’s breathing grew less labored, and the priest heard the Goliath let out a sigh of relief.”
Shawn finally got his “pet” so to speak. A large direwolf whose name was only known to me. He gave it a random name that doesn’t even come to mind anymore since it was so long ago. He would later learn her actual name and give her a nickname based on such later. An instant bond was formed between Harbard and the wolf, with lots of deer jerky as offering for friendship.
I had come up with a bunch of NPC’s for the game, and I wanted Shawn to be able to meet all of them before he set out on his actual journey. It’s evolved since then, but when I started I had a very “This NPC is a quest-giver mindset.” I world-built like I was building a video game world, which while not the best, was useful for Shawn at this stage since he was still getting used to the game. It also helped me by getting used to the flow and direction that Shawn went that I so easily went to. Railroading him for now would let me learn how to let him play in the sandbox later.
So I had the priest, Brother Vesh, tell Harbard that while he was well-traveled he didn’t have many contacts outside of the clergy of Pelor and that he had heard no news of giants recently. He did send him down to one of my early favorite NPC’s who for would return later as story relevance. I’m a big believer in introducing big players early, even if players don’t know that quite at the beginning.
Brother Vesh sent him to Caelynn Amakiir, a half-elf researcher currently residing deep in the northwest area of the mountains. He believed her to have more contacts and could keep up better with the world, and she might have more news for him.
Traveling through the woods and sending a more challenging animal encounter to Harbard now, gave me first signs of the mistake I had made. His wolf was so powerful, and on top of Harbard’s ability to reduce damage to himself, they tore through the harder encounter now. I might’ve just told him that we could retcon that out or that she couldn’t fight, but as long as Harbard was alone, I couldn’t just take her away. So one dead wolf pack later, Harbard and his new companion arrived in the area where he was supposed to be.
“The blood of wolf pack was still fresh on Harbard’s skin as well the muzzle of his new found friend. He smiled and threw her some more food for a job well done. He bit into his own piece of jerky as he wandered around the woods, looking for signs of life to show the way to the hut he was searching for. He wandered around in circles for hours and wandered, and wandered, and wandered…”