Extra Life 2013

Dear Friends,Family, and Forgotten Realms Fans,

Usually I use Dungeons & Dragons to write books, but for the Dungeons & Dragons R&D’s 2013 Extra Life drive I’ll be using it to raise money the Children’s Miracle Network and Seattle Children’s Hospital, helping them treat thousands of children each year, regardless of their family’s ability to pay.

To donate, click here.

How does playing a game raise money?

The game s 25-hours long, all run by the same DM, and it will be broadcast on D&D’s Twitch channel, so you can tune in and watch what happens. That also gives you the opportunity to affect gameplay with your donations.

Like how?
Well, for starters, you can affect the characters people play. Some of my teammates are selling the right to name their character or decide what race they should be for donations. I went with something different: If I reach $250 in donations by October 31st, I’ll play as Havilar, a popular character from my Brimstone Angels books. And I promise, I’ll role-play my heart out even though there will be cameras, strangers, and people who probably role-play better than me. I will think of as many crazy-Havi lines as I can on the fly.  (I wonder if my party has heard the only way to kill a tarrasque is from the inside…)

Wait–a tarrasque?

Yeah. Apparently, donations made to the DM unlock monsters. If he raises enough, there might be a tarrasque. Luckily, he’s established additional things that you can put your donation toward. Imagine it like The Hunger Games: When the chips are down, you can send my character a little boost to keep her going. Remember: the event will be livestreamed for the entire duration on our D&D Twitch TV channel, so you can actually affect the game while we’re playing.

You can’t just say that and not give examples.

$ Any Amount—Gold Digger
My character starts with that amount in gold pieces.

$25—Can I Get a Little Help Here?
Choose one: I start with (or gain) a potion of healing, or I start with (or gain) a reroll token to be used on any d20 roll during the game.

$50—Adventurer’s Care Package (1 available)
My character starts with an extra 50 gp, a potion of healing, an antitoxin, and a either +1 armor or a +1 weapon.

$75—I’ve Got My Ioun You
My character starts with a random ioun stone, from:
Clear spindle, dusty rose prism, deep red sphere, incandescent blue sphere, pale blue rhomboid, pink rhomboid, pink and green sphere, scarlet and blue sphere, dark blue rhomboid, vibrant purple prism, pale lavender ellipsoid, pearly white spindle, pale green prism, orange prism, lavender or green ellipsoid.

$100—You’re Some Kind of Wondrous
My character starts with a random rare magic item,from:
Bag of holding, boot of elvenkind, boots of speed, boots of striding and sprinting, bracers of defense, cloak of elvenkind, dust of dryness, gauntlets of ogre power, gem of seeing, horn of blasting, hat of disguise, necklace of fireballs, pearl of power, portable hole, rod of absorption, rod of lordly might, slippers of spider climbing, tome of the stilled tongue, winged boots, or two of the above.

$125—One Ring to Rule Them All
My character starts with a random magic item, from:
Ring of feather falling, ring of invisibility, ring of mind shielding, ring of protection, ring of the ram, ring of regeneration, ring of water walking or ring of wizardry

$150—How is that Fair?
My character starts with a random legendary magic item, from:
Gem of seeing, flying carpet, cloak of invisibility, crystal ball, robe of the archmagi, rod of absorption, rod of lordly might, belt of storm giant strength, holy avenger or vorpal sword.

$175—It’s for the Children
My character starts 1 level higher.

Your donation is tax-deductible and ALL PROCEEDS go to help kids.

Okay, but I don’t even know who Havilar is.

Dude, this is my blog. You could at least pretend.

…Right. Havilar. Um, could you refresh my memory of what that means?

But of course! Below, dear readers, is an excerpt from Brimstone Angels, to serve as a reminder for what I mean when I say I’ll play as Havilar. 

***

The second devil-girl strode up and planted her bloodied glaive, holding it out. “Eater of  Her Enemies Livers,” she interrupted, with a wicked glee. “I just thought of it.”

Her twin glared up at her. “Not now.”

“Why?” She seemed to notice Brin. “Oh. Well met. Is he dying?”

“No.”

“Good,” she said. “Then: Eater of Her Enemies Livers?”

The first devil sighed. “No. It’s too many words.”

The second girl scowled. “But they’re all the right words.”

“It sounds pretentious.”

“You mean ‘glorious’.” The second girl wrinkled her nose and turned to Brin. “What do you think?”

“Ab-about what?” he said. He swallowed. Was this how devils tricked one? Why couldn’t he remember? He could hear the clerics who had given him his lessons droning on about fiendish creatures; see all the lines of their faces, the whiskers of beards and the sleekness of severe coiffures . . . but the words weren’t coming to him.

Not demons—demons would have ripped him apart and been done. That was something.

“About ‘Eater of Her Enemies’ Livers’,” the girl said in an exasperated tone. “Is it pretentious or does it strike fear into the very core of your heart?”

“She’s trying to name her glaive,” the first devil explained. “Like in a story.”

The second one peered at him. “Maybe I shouldn’t ask you. You look a little peaked.”

“Yes,” the first twin said. “So stop waving your glaive in his face, Havilar.”

“Eater of Her Enemies’ Livers,” the second corrected.

The first shrugged. She pulled a rag out of her haversack and handed it to her sister. “I liked ‘Kidney Carver’ better.” She took out a small leather roll and handed it to Brin. “If you want, you can use it.” Brin stared at the kit, dumbly. She unrolled it for him. It looked like a healer’s kit.

“Kidney Carver sounds common,” Havilar said. “Like some butcher’s cleaver.”

“Where’s Mehen?” the devil girl said, still watching him.

“Cleaning up,” Havilar answered. “Why did you run out like that? He’s going to be furious.”

She was quiet for a moment. “Not now, Havi.”

“Yes now, Farideh,” Havilar said. “You ran out like you were going to start cutting all their heads off yourself. You never do that.”

Brin’s pulse was deafening. “To get me,” he said hoarsely. “You came out to . . . take me from the orcs.”

Farideh’s odd-eyes settled back on him, and she nodded hesitantly. “I didn’t mean to scare you. Are you feeling better?”

Havilar bent down and looked at Brin. “You look pale. Are you sure he’s not dying?”

“Ignore her,” Farideh said. “You don’t seem to be bleeding anywhere, so it’s likely a little bit of shock. Which having a blade waved in your face doesn’t help.”

Havilar made a disgruntled little noise and pulled her glaive back. “Worrywart.”

“Show-off,” Farideh muttered.

I’m the show off? You’re the one slinging magic all around like it was pebbles. What’s that thing? That thing with the fire?”

Farideh sighed. “A fire bolt.”

“You did a fire bolt on an orc. A wounded orc.” Havilar put a hand on her hip. “That is the very definition of a show-off. Mehen told you to stay back.”

“Says the girl who managed to work a backflip into a basic passing attack. You know Mehen’s going to tell you off for that.”

Thrik-ukris!” a man’s voice bellowed, and both girls shut their mouths.

            Striding toward them was the enormous, scaled man—no, not a man. Brin remembered now: dragonborn.

He had seen dragonborn come to the temple of Torm once, and once before that in the markets of Suzail. They were fierce, disciplined fighters, new to the world of Faerûn—new, anyway, since the Blue Fire had remade things a hundred years ago. This far north, they were few and far between indeed.

“What in all the depths and heights of the planes around was that!” The dragonborn man’s features were fearsome even though his movements were sure and calm. Like Havilar he was well fitted in scale-armor over his own reddish scales, and along his jaw there were a series of holes, as if once he’d worn rings in that ridge.

He pointed a sharp-taloned finger at the first twin. “We had a plan. You leapt in there throwing fire like a street performer in front of fifty karshoji people, and then very nearly got yourself spitted on a pothach orc’s bastard sword. What in the Hells were you thinking?”

Farideh’s pretty face contorted in anger. “Everyone can stop shouting at me, thanks. I was thinking they were going to kill him. Did you want me just to watch?”

She meant Brin. The orcs had been going to kill . . . He felt dizzy.

“If I hadn’t done something,” she continued, “then he’d be the one spitted on a sword.”

“Axe,” Havilar said blandly, scrutinizing her glaive. She looked down at him. “You can’t spit things on an axe, though. Split. You would have been split on that axe.”

Brin turned and vomited on the ground beside him.

“Yes,” the dragonborn said, sarcastically. “I can see you’ve saved quite the precious soul. What would they have done without him?”

“I didn’t get in your way,” Farideh said. “It’s not like they weren’t going to be able to tell what we were anyway. You let Havilar out.”

“Tieflings are one thing but warlo—” He broke off with a hissing sigh. “No,” the man said, “we can have this conversation later. When I lecture your sister for wasting her energy prancing around the battlefield like a godsdamned acrobat!”

“I killed seven of them!” Havilar protested.

“You killed five,” the dragonborn replied. “The two that limped off don’t count. And you could have taken nine.” He looked down at Brin, his eyes as cold and clear as a snake’s, but far more clever. “Are you done heaving all over the ground?”

“Y-yes,” Brin said.

The dragonborn reached beneath his breastplate and pulled out a much-folded, much-handled piece of paper. He smoothed it out and squatted down beside Brin so he could hold it close to his face. It smelled odd and musky, like the dragonborn concentrated. The page was a wanted poster—a picture of a sour-looking woman looked back at Brin. A pointed chin, a pinched nose. Dark, narrow eyes and darker hair with severe bangs. Brin’s heart started racing, and once more, he was afraid he was going to faint.

“You know her?” the dragonborn said. “You see her in that caravan?”

“No,” Brin said. He’d not seen her in the caravan, but he’d seen her nearly every day of his young life.

The woman was Constantia. Utterly, undoubtedly Constantia.

Of course Constantia had come looking for him—it was her head once someone realized he’d fled. Brin had counted on the fact that no one would send out hunters and wanted posters for him—too many had too much at stake for his name to become well-known. But if Constantia had ridden out after him, if she hadn’t gone to her superiors at the temple or their family, then . . .

The poster spoke volumes: Constantia was apostate in Cormyr for losing Brin.

The dragonborn stood, muttering under his breath in a language that wasn’t Common. “Farideh, Havilar—you two stay here. I’ll sort out things with the caravan master.” He pointed at each of them. “Don’t. Move.”

“Do you think they need help?” Farideh said.

“Don’t you go near them,” the dragonborn said. “You don’t know anything about them and now they know too much about you. Chances are better than good you’ll need your own help when one of them gets skittish and decides to stick you. Stay. Here.”

“They might like us better if we gave them our healing potions,” Havilar said.

“If they’re stupid enough to be traveling this road without their own supplies, then you don’t want them to like you. And they have a priest so stop making up reasons to go over there” He stomped off, muttering in the same language as before, toward the caravan and the priest—who had moved on from the bloody woman to a man with a head wound.

I should help, Brin thought, but his mind was racing with concern for his cousin and concern for the devils. What was he going to do?

“Don’t mind Mehen,” Farideh said. “He’s just annoyed we aren’t having better luck up here.”

“We’re bounty hunters,” Havilar chimed. “Only we have the worst quarry these days. Mehen took her off another bounty hunter who’d given up. Fari’s sure we’ve gotten ahead of her. It’s like hunting a ghost. Except you can lure ghosts.”

“No you can’t,” Farideh said. “Who told you that?”

Everyone knows that. You use whisky. In a little plate.”

“That doesn’t even make sense.”

Brin blinked at them, the fog of the fight dissipating and the reality of what he was sitting amidst dawning. “You aren’t devils, are you?”

Both girls turned toward him. Farideh’s mouth went small and tight and her cheeks flamed. Havilar burst out with a snort of laughter that she quickly smothered.

“Yes,” she said, waggling the fingers of her free hand. “Devils. We’re bounty hunters of the Hells! Come to steal you away!”

“Stop it, Havi,” Farideh said. “It’s not funny.”

“Oooooooh!” she wailed, trying to stifle her giggles. “We’ll fry your innards and spit-roast your heart! Boil down your soul for . . .” She looked at Farideh. “What do they do with souls anyway?”

Farideh glared at her. “They draw power from them. We’re not devils,” she said to Brin. “Haven’t you ever seen a tiefling?”

“No,” he admitted, though now he felt foolish. What would devils be doing on Faerûn, chasing down errant novices like him? “I’ve . . . read about them. About you.”

Tieflings were the descendants of the union between human and fiend. While said union was many generations past, the taint of the devil’s blood bred true and all tieflings were cursed with strange, solid eyes; horns; and a tail. Many also had red skin, he had read, but the twin’s was fawn-colored—as ordinary as the Calishite priest and half the caravan in that regard. But their hair was such a black that it had a purplish cast, like a deep, day-old bruise . . . and their eyes . . .

He realized he’d been staring when Farideh said, rather delicately, “If you’d like to return to your family, we’d understand.”

***

Now don’t you want to see D&D R&D go up against a tarrasque with that? Then donate!

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