Category Archives: Life

A Crafty Harry Potter Party

A Harry Potter Themed Party

What is better than all things Harry Potter? All things Harry Potter that are affordable! And I’m not talking about the “affordable” that will end up costing you $200 of online buying. My Harry Potter party consisted of cheap, hand-made crafts, dollar store finds, making do with what I already had available (or could borrow from friends and family), and ready to serve or simple recipes. Feel free to use all of this as inspiration for your next Halloween, birthday, or Harry Potter fan party!


1. Floating Candles

I did these slightly different than the source instructions but they still turned out great. I mixed some yellow paint into my white to give it an aged look. I also had thicker paint that would not drip like the original instructions. So instead, I painted a quick white coat, allowed to dry, then went back over with my yellow tinted paint. A thin layer of matte acrylic spray sealer can also help the paint stay on the hot glue “drips”.

Harry Potter Party Floating Candles Crafts
Floating Candles
2. Flying Keys

There are several ways to do these but in order to use the materials I had available to me, I had to wing it. Pun intended. I found simple skeleton key clip art designs and butterfly or fairy wing designs online and printed them on cardstock to create a template. I then used craft foam (black, tan, and grey) for the keys, cutting them out with a pen knife. For the wings, I used scrap plastic packaging sheets my husband brought home from work (tracing paper would also work) and traced the wing template with a fine point permanent marker, and attached them with hot glue. I used fishing line and clear push pins to secure them to the ceiling.

Harry Potter Party Crafts Flying Keys
Flying Keys
3. Ron’s Pet Rat, Scabbers

This one takes a little skill. I found a squeaky black rat at a local dollar store and painted him to look more like Scabbers. I even cut off his right index finger (according to the books)! If you would like to try this one, I suggest sealing it with matte acrylic sealer spray.

Harry Potter Party Crafts Scabbers Hand Painted Plastic Halloween Prop Rat
Ron’s Pet Rat, Scabbers
4. Platform 9 3/4 Brick Wall Entrance

There are many ways to do this craft, but again I needed to work with what I already had available. I used scrap white material and to get the different red bricks, I added a small amount of green paint to the red paint. For the sign I used some scrapbook paper and construction paper. All free hand, no templates.

Harry Potter Party Craft Platform 9 and 3 Quarters Doorway Entrance
Platform 9 3/4 Brick Wall Entrance
5. Follow the Spiders Wreath

This was a craft decoration from the previous Halloween, but, of coarse, it was a must. The wreath itself is a simple combination of a cheap twig wreath, fake spider webbing, plastic spiders, and trusty hot glue. The “Follow the Spiders” sign I made from dampening thick paper with paint-tinted water (coffee can also tint paper) and allowing it to dry curled. I then used hot glue to secure it to the web.

Harry Potter Party Crafts Follow the Spiders Wreath
Follow the Spiders (and feed Fang) Wreath
6. Hogwarts House Bookmarks

I created my bookmarks using Picmonkey after seeing some awesome bookmarks on Etsy. I used the house crests, the dominant personality traits of each house student, and other images I felt applied to each house (Harry’s glasses and scar for Gryffindor, Deathly Hallows symbol Luna’s father wore as a necklace -Luna was Ravenclaw, a potion bottle for Prefessor Snape, head of Slytherin house, and the Sorting Hat for Hufflepuff because I personally like the way he says “Hufflepuff” in the movie) to create personable bookmarks.

Harry Potter Bookmarks
Harry Potter Bookmarks
7. Broomstick Gift Bags

These were easy enough, even if I didn’t read the instructions. I know, I know, shame on me. But if you would like to, click here, these were my inspiration. As for the “broom handle”, I used the wands (mentioned below), and the gift bags included one Golden Snitch candy and a Thank You howler (both also mentioned below).

Harry Potter Party Crafts Broomstick Gift Bags
Broomstick Gift Bags
Harry Potter Party Crafts Broomstick Gift Bag Contents Wand Golden Snitch and Thank You Howler
Gift Bag: Wand, Golden Snitch, and Thank You Howler
8. Wands

There is NO WAY you can have a Harry Potter party without wands! And they really are easy to make. Yes, I did try to make some that looked similar to the ones from the movies and the Pottermore site, but I did not sell them. Click here for my inspirational instructions.

Harry Potter Party Crafts Wands
9. Thank You Howler 

Because I could not find a good “Ron’s Howler” how-to, I made my own template. I used red construction paper for the envelope and white printer paper for the letter, a small red ribbon for the “tongue”, a pair of zigzag pattern scissors to create the teeth effect, an ultra thin marker for the decorations, and hot glue to assemble the howlers. For the templates below, I created them using Fontspace Harry Potter fonts and Picmonkey. Note: My demensions were 3 inches by 6 inches, but you can make them larger.

Harry Potter Party Crafts Rons Howler Thank You Mischief Managed
Ron’s Howler Thank You Mischief Managed with Footprints
Harry Potter Party Crafts Thank You Mischief Managed Howler with Animagus Dog Footprints
Thank You Mischief Managed Howler with Animagus Dog Footprints
Harry Potter Party Crafts Thank You Mischief Managed Howler with Animagus Footprints
Thank You Mischief Managed Howler with Animagus Cat Footprints
Harry Potter Party Crafts Thank You Mischief Managed Howler with Footprints
Thank You Mischief Managed Howler with Footprints
Harry Potter Party Crafts Howler Envelope Template Front - Ron Weasleys Red Howler
Ron’s Howler Envelope Template (Front)
Harry Potter Party Crafts Howler Envelope Template Back - Rons Red Howler
Ron’s Howler Envelope Template (Back)

**You can print these or use them as inspiration and make them your own. Remember all content on this site is under copyright so please be courteous and give us a shout out.**

10. Golden Snitch Candy

The page I had gotten my inspiration from is no longer available so I will provide you with the template I created for my snitch wings. I used gold glitter scrapbook paper and hot glued the tips to the sides of Ferrero Rocher candies.

Golden Snitch Wing Template
Golden Snitch Wing Template
Golden Snitches (Candy)

Foods and Snacks:

I wanted a snack for each house and these are the ones I used. I also wanted to incorporate some of the snacks from the movie. This was my party food list, feel free to use it or make up your own!

Huffle PuffsCheese puffs

Raven ClawsBugels

Slytherin SnakesSour or Plain gummy worms

Gryffin S’smores – Baked or classic S’mores

Chocolate frogs – Buy molds here

Golden Snitches – (See above)

Bertie Bott’sGimbles, Jelly Belly, or Bertie Bott’s

Butterbeer – Find the recipe here. *Note: I suggest caramel melts instead of the hard candies or caramel syrup. The hard candies did not dissolve well.

Felix Felicis – Butterscotch Schnapps – I hand painted over the label for effect. You could also print off a label using the background provided for the food labels and the fonts provided below.

Polyjuice Potion – Find the recipe here. We added gin but did not label it as anything special since it was staying in the freezer.


Griffin S'mores and Huffle Puffs
Griffin S’mores and Huffle Puffs
Raven Claws and Slytherin Snakes
Raven Claws and Slytherin Snakes
Chocolate Frogs
Chocolate Frogs
Felix Felicis Butterscotch Schnapps
Felix Felicis Butterscotch Schnapps
1. Food Labels

For the background I used a parchment background and the fonts were from Fontspace. The labels were created using Picmonkey.

Harry Potter Food Labels-page-001

Harry Potter Themed Food Labels
Harry Potter Themed Food Labels
2. Food Label Stands

These were made with large paperclips and wire pliers. You can find the instructions here.

3. Potion Cauldron

We bought a cauldron from our local Big Lots and added dry ice for the smoke effect. You can find the instructions for that here.

Polyjuice Potion
Get this party started!

During the party we played the Harry Potter soundtrack station on Spotify for ambiance. We separated into teams — based on houses, of course — and played several rounds of Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit. There is so much more I could have done and if you have any ideas, send them our way. /*

**Remember to drink your potions responsibly!**

More from Holloway’s Hideaway!

Tipsy Scribbles — Simple Ink

Once Bitten, Twice Die — A Flash Fiction

Writing Prompts – Characters

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A Pirate’s Life

A Pirate’s Life

Based on the Dungeons & Dragons character created by Leslie Holloway

Image credit: Ship at Sea


Dusk had fallen over the ocean about a day’s journey from the nearest port. Eevil steadied her equine legs behind the helm of her captain’s ship, Fool’s Gold, and kept her hands on the wheel.

“Captain, I don’t think this is a very good idea. This new crew…” Eevil’s voice trailed off. She would never openly defy her Captain’s orders. But that did not vanquish her love for him, and her desire to keep him safe.

“You have been given your orders,” Lord Cromwell said in a stern whisper. He was known to the crew as Captain Cut Throat and would not let his first mate tarnish the reputation that came along with the name. “I agree our last crew had become our family, may they rest in peace. This is our crew now, and we must make with what we have. This mark will set us all up for some time.” He patted her human shoulder and set off down to the deck to his assembled crew.

Night approached as Eevil came upon their mark. A royal cargo vessel transporting a king’s treasury. The ship was rumored to be minimally guarded with no passengers to make room for the vast amount of riches. It was a pirate’s ticket home, but Captain Cut Throat was no mangy, murderous pirate. He would take his share, a “tax”, and vanish. No killing, burning, raping, or any other acts of unnecessary violence. This was what drew Eevil to Cromwell and his crew as an escaped centaur slave, along with running from her capturers.

But when their loyal crew had been slaughtered during a hit gone sour, it was difficult to trust any new recruits. Finding pirates to fit Lord Cromwell’s terms were not easy, and she could feel a terrible change of the wind bringing her a message of horrible news.

“Lights out! No calls, no bells!” Captain Cut Throat called out as the lanterns of the cargo ship came into view.

She watched him and his selected mates set off in rowboats quick and quiet, like shadows on the waves. She could barely make out their figures as they climbed the side of the ship. Then a deafening silence washed over the sea. She heard Lord Cromwell start to call but his voice turned to a gurgle as a blade flashed over his throat. Her body went rigid and her hooves fought to keep her upright on the rocking deck.

It was a trap. It was a set up. Her mind whirred, trying to fit everything together. The loss of the old crew, the new recruits, the rumors of this too-good-to-be-true target. It had all been planned. They were out smarted by–

“BRUTES! MANGY, FILTHY PIRATES!” Eevil yelled and charged down the deck, jumping over the stairs to land on one particularly hideous pirate. Her scimitar shimmered in the moonlight as it slashed at anything that moved.

She felt a cool edge at her neck and a drip of warmth trickle down her skin, and she froze. “Easy girl. Ain’t none of us wanna lose a prized mare,” and she heard a moist clicking of a tongue over an incomplete set of teeth and a hand felt it’s way down her black coat on her hindquarters.

“Get away from me,” Eevil growled and kicked hard with her back hoof but caught only air.

The pirates laughed and jeered, and the echoes sounding across the waves from the other vessel reminded her of the grim events. The blade pressed harder against her smoky skin and she winced. “If you’s not gon’ play nice, than how’s ’bout a deal? We send you on your merry way,” some of the pirates attempted to gruff in protest, “and we takes da ship an every fing innit?” The pirates let out roars and cheers of conquest.

Eevil was defeated. For a moment, she thought of requesting death. After all she had nothing to live for. But if she lived, she could avenge her love, take back Fool’s Gold, and watch the lives of these thieves drip from the tip of her sword. The thought burned in her with determination. She walked slowly to a rowboat, head held high, her hooves clopping softly on the wooden deck. She folded her legs into the small boat while a pirate bound her hands. Several of the more muscular pirates struggled to lower her into the dark waters.

A cool breeze kissed the small cut on her neck. Everything was about to change.


More from Holloway’s Hideaway!

Tipsy Scribbles: Dungeon Master Screen

Once Bitten, Twice Die – A Flash Fiction

Writing Prompts – Fantasy


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Tipsy Scribbles: Painting a DM Screen

Painting a DM Screen


Justin and I are fans of our imagination, that is pretty obvious. We also like pushing it to the limit with Dungeons & Dragons and other role playing table top games. So far, all of our campaigns have only included ourselves. Yes, Justin would try to be the Dungeon – or game – master AND play a character at the same time. He hated it.

Now he has decided to trade in his player character to become multiple non-player characters, monsters, a world builder, and a chaos-causing puppet master. He will be a full on Dungeon Master (Game Master) and every DM needs a screen to hide their devious plans from his unsuspecting players. While he’s checking stats and creating monsters, I thought I would add something a little more pleasant to the side of the screen we get to see. A backdrop to set the stage for our adventurous band of misfits.

Now, this is nothing fancy. It is a sheet of scrap blue corrugated plastic that measures about one foot by four feet. Cardboard corrugated could be used but this is more sturdy. I would love to make a version with light wood sheets, but for now this will serve its purpose.

I used serval thin layers of white gesso to cover the glossy plastic and to hide some of the blue. My acrylic paint is on the cheap end since I don’t paint often, so acrylic craft paint would work with this.  I then looked up some inspiration photos to help with choosing a color scheme. After the paint dried, I applied a  thin coat of acrylic sealer to protect from wear and tear. *Artist Tip* Styrofoam egg cartons make great paint pallets as well as empty – and washed – prepackaged lunches, or other disposable divided trays. Then, place plastic wrap over the top and place in the refrigerator to keep the paint from drying out.

Tipsy Scribbles - A picture says a thousand words when wine loosens the tongue.
DM Screen
Tipsy Scribbles - A picture says a thousand words when wine loosens the tongue.
DM Screen Castle Silhouette


Here are some links to more artist tips for painting with acrylics:



“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.” — George Bernard Shaw

More from Holloway’s Hideaway!

Fantasy Writing Prompts

Premade D&D Character: Dwarven Cleric

The Blacksmith – A Flash Fiction

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Tipsy Scribbles: So Much To Do, So Little Wine

So Much To Do, So Little Wine


This summer has been non-stop for the Holloway’s. From the garden project to home renovations, the Hideaway has been buzzing.

Our hummingbird feeder has finally attracted a visitor! But all other outdoor projects have been halted for this year until next spring.

Humming Bird


Our house has also had a burden lifted, literally. Just a note to folks out there: a lot of weight in one small area can have disastrous consequences if not supported properly. Although we did not weigh all of the tile and concrete removed, we have guessed this one shower weighed several hundred pounds.

Tiled Shower

Shower Detiling









Another burden that is currently being lifted is some clutter from our overgrown stash of crap that has accumulated over the years. What people don’t warn you about marriage is the clashing of each other’s stuff. You don’t realize how much you have until you need to find a place to put it all. My husband has listened to the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Hopefully this will help guide us through the monstrous task of organizing our home.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo


Another thing I have personally been working on is my pastel skills. When I started painting with chalk pastel, I only had YouTube and several online articles as a guide. I could see some improvements in my work, but I felt as if I had hit a wall. I didn’t see me going any further with my skills without some type of guidance. I needed a teacher. Thankfully Marla Baggetta, a pastel artist, offers free mini lessons on her website, along with full length lessons. I have only completed a handful of lessons, but the amount of knowledge I have acquired is astounding. That wall of ignorance is crumbling away and I am getting a glimpse of the artistic future I was beginning to think was an intangible dream.


“Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.” — William Pollard


More from Holloway’s Hideaway!

Writing Prompts – Kids

Tipsy Scribbles

Table Top Day

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Tipsy Scribbles: Landscape Project Update

Landscape Project Update!


Last week I shared the beginnings of the landscaping project we had started around our house. Last weekend we bought three Baby Gem boxwoods, two sets of Tiny Rocket lilies, a pack of twelve Celosia flowers, and one baby Japanese maple! The garden is a first for us, but the maple is our first tree we have planted together as a couple. I know that sounds a little cheesy, but planting a tree, even a small tree can be a symbol. A symbol of a growing and lasting relationship, creating a permanent home, and setting down firm roots. This is our home, and our little tree. From the day we stepped foot in this house we knew it would become our home.

But all sentiments aside, I really hope it doesn’t die.

Our garden is not complete but this is an update of our progress so far!


Japanese Maple
Japanese Maple
Celosia Flowers
Celosia Flowers
Tiny Rocket Dwarf Asiatic Lily
Tiny Rocket Dwarf Asiatic Lily
Baby Gem Boxwood
Baby Gem Boxwood


And no garden would be complete without a personal touch. The frog mosaic is a gift from my best friend Sara and her grandmother Mimi. Mimi is one talented lady I have always looked up to. If I become a fraction as awesome as she is in my future, I will be happy.

Frog Mosaic Stepping Stone
Frog Mosaic Stepping Stone


And my other dash of whimsy from my in-laws as a Mother’s Day present. I’m in the process of adding a bit more paint to the design before I seal it and place it in the garden. This was significantly nicer than the presents I received from my own children: cat vomit, dog slobber, bodily waste, and lots and lots of hair. But it’s the thought that counts.

Butterfly Garden Stone
Butterfly Garden Stone


“For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.” — Martin Luther


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Saving Time: Part 9 – A Flash Fiction

Tipsy Scribbles : Landscaping Project

Writing Prompts: Mother’s Day

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Tipsy Scribbles: Landscaping Project

Landscaping Project


It is spring at the Hideaway and this crazy woman has gotten the bright idea to enter into the world of gardening. Do I know how to garden? Absolutely not. Not in the slightest. I literally have no clue what I’m doing. BUT I have drawn this cute little garden map to make it look like I know what I’m doing. That’s the key to life: look like you know what you’re doing. “What’s the worst that could happen” you ask? Everything dies. The chances of that happening are probably higher than I’m willing to admit to myself, so let’s not dwell on the negative!

Landscape simple sketch - Tipsy Scribbles

Now, the picture above is a sketch including all future projects we would like to tackle, but right now let’s focus on the current project in the picture below. This is the front corner of our house that is really in need of some curb appeal (we don’t have a curb, but it sounds better than “ditch appeal”). My dad, who used to run his own landscaping and stump grinding company, helped us design the bed’s outer edge. The gentle curves, rather than sharp corners, makes for easier mowing.

Landscape Plans Sketch bottom right

We would like to add a small wooden deck, some flowers, a few bushes, and THIS BAD BOY! Check that out. That is a Japanese Maple. It’s a beautiful plant that is somehow a tiny tree and a giant bonsai at the same time. It’s also expensive so this will be our yard’s crown jewel.

This classic Japanese maple variety bears deeply cut, feathery red-purple leaves that turn bright crimson in fall. We also love its graceful, weeping habit.
Click for source

Here is a sneak peek of our house before the plant murder and total gutting process. Although most of these plants were healthy, they were not what I wanted for our house. Keep in check next week for our Hideaway’s transformation part 1!

Front flower bed before
Front flower bed before


“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” –Marcus Tullius Cicero

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Tipsy Scribbles: Prayer

Writing Prompts: Settings

Saving Time: Part 8 – A Flash Fiction


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Tabletop Day 2017

Tabletop Day 2017

Yesterday, Les and I celebrated International Tabletop Day hosted by a local group. We don’t usually do a lot of socializing, but we definitely look forward to this yearly event. It gives us a chance to enjoy games, old and new, with people that love playing games. This year, we played four new (at least to us) games. I’ll provide the recommended player counts, length of gameplay, and ages. Then a quick rundown of gameplay and our opinions of these games.

1. Boss Monster

Boss Monster - Box - Tabletop Day 2017

Players: 2-4. Play Time: 20 Minutes. Age: 13+

We were introduced to this one with the quote: “Remember the old side scrolling games? You’re Bowser.”

Boss Monster - Boss and Two Rooms - Tabletop Day 2017

You start the game by drawing one of the Boss cards and placing it in front of you, then drawing a hand of room and spell cards. Once the game starts, Heroes are drawn from a deck and placed in the Town. There are four types of Heroes: Fighters, Mages, Thieves, and Clerics. Different Bosses and Rooms will lure different Heroes to your dungeon. It is your objective to build a series of rooms to protect your Boss from the Heroes. You win by collecting ten souls before your Boss suffers five wounds.

Boss Monster - Heroes - Tabletop Day 2017

This was a lot of fun and a great way for us to start our Tabletop Day. We plan to add this to our own game collection in the near future.

Available on Amazon.

2. King of Tokyo

King of Tokyo - Box - Tabletop Day 2017

Players: 2-6. Play Time: 30 Minutes. Age: 8+

Pick a monster and start attacking the Japanese capital! This game let’s you live out any dream of being Godzilla or any of the mightiest Kaiju. The rules are simple. Once a monster has taken control of Tokyo, they must defend themselves from the others while any of the other monsters fight to take control away. You start the game with 10 life and 0 Victory Points. You win by collecting 20 Victory Points or reducing all of the other monsters to 0 life.

King of Tokyo - Les Deciding Which Dice to Use - Tabletop Day 2017

King of Tokyo - I'm About to Win - Tabletop Day 2017







King of Tokyo - Deck and Dice - Tabletop Day 2017

A very fun game that is quick to learn and very easy to play. We only played it with just the two of us. I would imagine the game really starts to shine once 4-6 monsters are battling for control of the city.

Available on Amazon.

3. Carcassonne

Carcassonne - Box - Tabletop Day 2017

Players: 2-5. Play Time: 30-45 Minutes. Age: 8+

Carcassonne - Meeples Everywhere! - Tabletop Day 2017To start the game, you randomly draw a land tile and place it on the table connected to the already present field. On these tiles, you will find fields, roads, cities, and chapels. Once the tile is placed, you can choose to play one of your meeples to claim a feature. Once the feature is complete, you earn points and get your meeple back. Fields, roads, cities, and chapels all score differently and require different conditions to complete them. Your objective is to simply outscore your opponent(s).

Carcassonne -Finished Game Layout - Tabletop Day 2017The came already has many expansions to allow for more land tiles and even more players. The base game allows for up to five players. All expansions combined allow for up to eight players. The game does work perfectly for only two people. Which is important for us since most game nights are just the two of us.

Carcassonne will be the next addition to our Tabletop collection.

Available on Amazon.

4. Secret Hitler

I didn’t get a picture of the cover. We were drafted, last minute, into a nine player game of this one. Therefore, I only managed to get one picture during gameplay.

Players: 5-10. Play Time: 45 Minutes. Age: 13+

This is a more complicated game than the other three on this list. First off, you must have at least five players and the closer to ten, the better the game plays. Secret Hitler falls under the category of bluffing games. You are randomly assigned one of three roles: Liberal, Fascist, or Hitler. Once you know your identity, all players close their eyes. Then the Fascists all open their eyes and silently identify each other. Hitler keeps his/her eyes closed and indicates to the Fascists that he/she is Hitler (a thumbs up or what have you).

Once the Fascist know each other and who their Hitler is, the game begins. One player is named President and they nominate a Chancellor. All players vote Ja (yes) or Nein (no) to confirm or deny the nomination. If declined, the next player is named President and the process repeats until majority approve the Chancellor nomination. Then the President selects some policies that have to be silently narrowed down to one by the Chancellor.

Secret Hitler at Tabletop Day 2017

Five successful Liberal policies and the Liberals win. Once three Fascist policies are enacted, if Hitler is successfully nominated to Chancellor by the majority, the Fascists win.  However, the fourth and fifth Fascist policies passed allow the President to execute one of the players at the table. If Hitler is killed in this manner, the Liberals win.

Les did not enjoy this particular game. While I liked the concept of this game, it is the opinion of both of us that The Resistance delivers a more enjoyable game of this style.

Available on Amazon.

More From Holloway’s Hideaway!

 Tipsy Scribbles

Mysterium Board Game Review

Premade D&D Character: Dwarven Cleric

The Blacksmith – A Flash Fiction

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They Came and Got Barbara! A D&D Narrative

They Came and Got Barbara!


With the sun just starting to peak through the trees of Willowspur Forest, Devereau checked the sparse equipment that lay before him. Although Devereau was always welcome in the nearby trading post of Pondview, the seventeen year old human male had made Willowspur his home. After returning his bedroll and waterskin to his backpack, he tightened the straps of his studded leather cuirass and secured his swords at his side.

Any thoughts of a peaceful day spent searching the forest for useful goods were swiftly pushed aside when a shrill scream that was cut short rang through the dew soaked air. Devereau scooped up the backpack and his longbow and sprinted East, towards Pondview and the source of the scream. He suspected the old abandoned cabin that nature had reclaimed so many years ago. The traders of Pondview always whispered about the building being haunted. Devereau had not yet been motivated to test the rumors, until now.

He slowed his pace and crouched into the brush as he approached the abandoned cabin. The young ranger was not the only one drawn to the cabin by the scream. From the tree line on the other side of the building, a tall, thin woman in custom hide armor stepped into Devereau’s view. Pointed ears protruded from her long, unkempt auburn hair comprised of dreadlocks, braids, leaves, and twigs. Her right hand rested on the hilt of a scimitar, the curve blade fashioned from bone. A larger than average gray-brown wolf trailed her by a few paces. Her perceptive emerald eyes instantly fell on Devereau’s hiding place. He stepped from the brush and nodded to the young druid.

“Phayegwynn, I presume?” Devereau had heard rumors of the young half-elf that had been accepted by the druids of Willowspur Forest.

“The traders still speak of me in Pondview, ranger?”

“On occasion. I believe Traver misses you.” The gnome innkeeper was the only citizen of Pondview that had spoken with Devereau of her by name. “Perhaps you should visit when this is through,” Devereau suggested as he nodded towards the decades old wooden door that hung askew by a single hinge.

Without saying a word, Phayegwynn drew her scimitar and used it to push the door open, revealing a dimly lit hallway. Her wolf companion sniffed around the base of the first door on the left. Phayegwynn twisted the rusty door handle slowly and swung open with a pained groan.

To the right of the now ajar door, a humanoid figure in a black hooded robe looked over its left shoulder at them. The cloaked figure’s shoulders sagged as if from exasperation, before vanishing in a small cloud of smoke. As the smoke cleared, Devereau noticed a young woman restrained to a wooden chair. Longbow still in his hand, Devereau took one step towards the restrained woman. Phayegwynn tapped Devereau’s thigh with her scimitar and gestured towards the other side of the room as three zombies began to shamble out of the shadows in a flanking formation.

Devereau fired an arrow at the one positioning itself between Devereau and the captive woman. The arrow passed harmlessly between two sets of exposed ribs and found its mark in the rotted wood of the wall behind the shambling zombie. Phayegwynn removed the left arm of the one closest to her as the wolf tore the third into pieces. Devereau’s second arrow missed its target as the dismembered zombie’s lunge made him lose his footing. Phayegwynn slashed at the zombie at Devereau’s back. Devereau and Phayegwynn turned in unison to find the wolf standing over the remains of the final zombie. Trying to hide the disappointment that he felt with his own performance in the encounter, Devereau quickly plucked the two arrows from the back wall while Phayegwynn untied the young woman.

“What can you tell us about your cloaked friend?” Phayegwynn asked.

“I think she meant ‘Are you alright?’” Devereau eyed Phayegwynn.

“I… have no idea who that was,” tears slid down her cheeks and her eyes darted around the room, taking in the gathered party. “I was picking fruits from the edge of the forest and he grabbed me and dragged me to this… place.”

“We should check the rest of the cabin for signs of our hooded friend before returning her to Pondview,” Devereau whispered to Phayegwynn.

“Very well,” Phayegwynn nodded then helped the girl to her feet. “Come with us for a few minutes.”

The four entered the hallway, with Phayegwynn leading the party. Deciding to work clockwise around the cabin, she walked farther down the hallway to a second door on the left side. She cautiously pushed the door open to find an emptied room with vines making up more of the wall than the original wood.

With a sigh, she returned to the hallway and reached for the door knob of the door opposite the cabin’s entrance. The door yanked free of her grip. With the taste of metal on her tongue, she dived back towards the party entering the hallway from the empty room she had just left. A blast of lightening arced down the hallway and blew the entrance door off of its single remaining hinge.

“What the hell was–“ Devereau caught Phayegwynn mid interjection, “are you okay?” Devereau looked towards the door, “must be something they didn’t want us finding behind that door.”

Phayegwynn pulled herself away from Devereau and stormed into the room with her scimitar ready for attack. She stopped two steps into the room. The scimitar lowered as her eyes scanned the empty room. Nothing. No hooded figure. No furniture. No zombies. She turns back to Devereau, confused, “Why install a trap for a vacant room?” Devereau merely shrugged in his own confusion. Phayegwynn sheathed her scimitar as she returned to the hallway for the next room.

After eyeing the door and determining it wasn’t rigged with another trap, she kicked the door in with a sigh of frustration. The floor of this room was covered in ropes of various lengths and thicknesses. In the very center of the room, a large ornate mirror stood. The cloaked figure from the first room was staring straight at the party from beyond the glass. The head tilted toward the young woman before vanishing again, leaving only the reflection of the party.

Phayegwynn drew and hurled her cudgel at the mirror and it shattered instantly. Phayegwynn crossed the room to recover her club and picked up one of the larger pieces of glass shards that now accompanied the ropes. She pocketed the shard before turning to Devereau, who was inspecting some writing on the wall. Phayegwynn could only make out one word, “Erythnull.”

“It’s written in blood,” Devereau stated without checking to see if anyone else had even noticed what he was seeing. “Well let’s see what wonders that last room has to offer us.”

As the party turned for the hallway again, Devereau inspected and coiled up a useful length of rope to take with him. He rejoined the two women and the wolf as Phayegwynn slowly opened the last door.

“It would appear that something exploded,” Phayegwynn stated flatly as she eyed the crater in the floor and the scorch marks that covered what was left of the room. Noticing that the ceiling was damaged and the crater was flooded with water, she added, “a great while ago.”

“And treasure,” Devereau, more excitedly than he had meant to, pointed at a floating chest in the middle of the flooded crater. Picking up a piece of lumber, most likely once part of the ceiling, Devereau nudged the floating chest to the edge of the crater and hauled it up to an undamaged section of the floor. A handful of gold pieces lay scattered in the bottom of the chest.

“Give the gold to the girl. I have little use for it and you will surely survive without it, ranger.”

“Barbara. My name… it’s Barbara,” the young woman said, with as much confidence as she could finally manage to muster.

“Very well. Give the gold to Barbara.” Phayegwynn stroked her wolf’s head as she walked past Devereau and Barbara towards the entrance of the cabin. She wished to be back in the forest. She assumed that today would not be the last time she saw a mysterious figure causing trouble in Willowspur. The forest was her home and nothing would bring it harm.

Devereau and Barbara followed Phayegwynn to the edge of the forest in silence. Once the inn of Pondview was in sight, Phayegwynn turned to Barbara. “Speak only with Traver at the inn. Tell him what happened and he will do everything he can to help you.”

The young woman nodded, “Thank you both so much for rescuing me.”

Devereau and Phayegwynn silently nodded as Barbara jogged to the inn. “I need to consult with the elders. I’ll see you again soon, ranger.”

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Premade D&D Character: Elf Wizard

Premade D&D Character: Elf Wizard

Volodar Crasys

Premade D&D Character: Elf Wizard (Necromancer)

Medium-sized humanoid (Elf) of Chaotic Good alignment. The wizard has forsaken the school of Enchantment in an effort to further his skill at Necromancy.

Armor Class: 11 (10 Natural, +1 Dex)

Hit Points: 7 (1d4)

Speed: 30 feet

Ability Scores

  • Strength: 8 (-1)
  • Dexterity: 12 (+1)
  • Constitution: 10 (0)
  • Intelligence: 17 (+3)
  • Wisdom: 12 (+1)
  • Charisma: 10 (0)

Saving Throws: Fort (Con) +0, Ref (Dex) +1, Will (Wis) +3

Skills: Concentration +4, Knowledge (arcana) +7, Spellcraft +7, Search +4, Spot +4

Damage Resistances: Immunity to magic sleep spells and effects, and a +2 racial saving throw bonus against Enchantment spells or effects.

Senses: Low-light Vision

Languages: Common, Elven, Draconic, Gnome, and Orc

Proficiencies: Simple Weapons, all Bows, no Armor or Shields

Feats: Toughness, Scribe Scroll

School Specialization: Necromancy (Enchantment is prohibited)

Armor: None

Weapons: Quarterstaff (1d6, crit x2, 4 lb., Large, Bludgeoning). Shortbow (1d6, crit x3, 60 ft., 2 lb., Medium, Piercing).

Equipment: Backpack with waterskin, one day’s trail rations, bedroll, sack, and flint and steel. Ten candles, map case, three pages of parchment, quill, ink well. Spell component pouch, spellbook. Quiver with 17 arrows. 11 gp.

Spellbook: All 0-level spells; plus Cause Fear, Chill Touch, Ray of Enfeeblement, Feather Fall, Summon Monster I, Animate Rope.

Familiar: Cobra named Ethassu. AC 13, HP 8 (1d10+1). Master gains Perception +2


Volodar Crasys, at the age of 78, had only just began his training in the magical arts to become a wizard. The instructors believed he had great potential although he lacked focus. Volodar wanted to learn as much as he could about every facet of magic.

Volodar’s life changed forever when attackers descended upon the elves’ sanctuary. Volodar was knocked unconscious during the attack and left for dead. Most of his kind were far less fortunate. When Volodar recovered, he searched though the ruins and identified the fallen as best he could. However, his young sister was missing entirely.

Volodar heeded the advice of his now deceased mentors and focused intently on the school of magic that gave him the best advantage over the forces of life and death. With his cobra familiar, Ethassu, the young wizard began his new life.

Outside Sources

Names generated via Fantasy Name Generators. Stats and information gathered from Dungeons & Dragons (3rd Edition) Player Handbook.

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The Surprise Party: A D&D Narrative

The Surprise Party

Ayda Orcbane rolled her dwarven war ax in her rough, callused hands. Her father’s family crest, engraved on the blade, gleamed at her. As gently as she could, she placed it on the stained table and eyed the empty chairs around her before noticing that she was being watched.

The innkeeper glared at her intently with one good eye, the other concealed behind a faded eye patch. She wasn’t sure why the innkeeper was staring at her. She had paid. She had cleaned her weapons before she placed them on display. This was a common practice among mercenaries who were in search of work.

Ayda Orcbane. The Surprise Party: A D&D Narrative
Ayda Orcbane

She had recently fulfilled a contract that she had accepted from a shady man and his army of usurpers; she was spending her measly share on the first inn that allowed Dwelves, let alone mercenaries. Hailing from both a proud, ancient dwarven clan and of highly viewed elves wasn’t enough to shake the negative view of mixed races in most parts of the world. With a name like Crushed Skull Inn, there wasn’t much room for judgment and most of the people around Wanderer’s Stop hadn’t spared her a second glance. Until now.

She was ready to get back out on the road and join a cause. A good one this time. Since leaving the Orcbane clan to find her own way in the world, she had hoped to find something worth her training and effort. Instead, all she found were various jobs all amounting to being everyone’s grunt. She drank through another pint of Rumm Scum, longing for something worth putting in a flagon.

The inn’s door flew open and thumped loudly against the wall filling the poorly lit room with the afternoon sun. In unison, the patrons turned to see who or what felt the need to announce their entrance in such a fashion. All seventeen eyes sank towards the floor. Ayda was more than a head taller than the newcomer, and she had certainly inherited her height from her father’s dwarven bloodline. The commotion was brought on by a Halfling, standing and hardly blocking the entrance of the Crushed Skull. This particular Halfling donned a full set of armor and was holding a mace in his right hand. The Halfling had already scanned the room before the nine occupants had laid eyes upon him. His left index finger was aimed directly at Ayda, his eyes on her war ax.

“Pick it up and assist me,” the halfling’s commanding voice was deeper than Ayda had expected. “Orcs approach and I could use your—“. Orcs knocked the Halfling aside as they burst through the doorway. Four of them, armed and ugly.

The smell hit Ayda nearly as hard as the orcs had hit the Halfling. Her muscles tensed as she took up her ax. As she found her feet, the realization of how much alcohol she had drank sank in. She swayed as she closed on the orc party. Two had taken an interest in her while the other two made for the Halfling. One of the orcs swung a crude club at Ayda. Her handicapped reflexes denied her the block and the club caught her across her chest and launched her backwards into a table that gave way beneath her and the room went dark.

The Halfling recovered almost instantly from the surprise assault. The orc’s knee crunched beneath the mace’s first strike. Wailing in pain, the orc doubled over for his knee. The creature’s pain ended abruptly with the second, ironically, skull-crushing strike. The Halfling glanced across the room to find a middle-aged man tending to the injured Dwelf. As he saw her eyes open, a makeshift axe caught the Halfling across the chest. He stumbled back several steps, uninjured, into the arms of another orc that had presumed the Dwelf was dead. The Halfling buried his heel into the orc’s foot as he swung the mace over his head. The mace killed the orc before it could express any of its pain.

Ayda grabbed her bow and readied an arrow as the orc noticed she was not out of the fight. The slightly blurred figure raised its club for an overhead strike. The arrow worked better than she had hoped. It penetrated the orc’s blackened mouth, exited out the neck and lodged in the last remaining orc’s left temple. She rolled to her right as the putrid orc landed where she had been. The last orc slumped to the floor and the room fell silent. Ayda searched the room for the man that had saved her but could not find him. She stood on shaky legs. The hit had sobered her somewhat but she was still unsteady.

“Very nice shot indeed,” the approaching Halfling complimented Ayda. “Not often that you see a dwarven archer.” His eyes fell on her ears. “I suppose that would be from your elf-kin then,” he added with a broad smile.

“Perhaps. The clan was always impressed with my shots,” Ayda replied hesitantly.

“What clan would that be?”


“I’ve heard wonderful things but until now have never met an Orcbane. Pleased to make your acquaintance, Lady Orcbane. I am Korvias Belfire of Bellshore.” The Halfling stood as tall and proud as any three foot tall being could.

“Please, just Ayda.” She looked about the room at the four fetid bodies that lay across the floor and the table that had broke her fall. “The least we can do is dispose of the bodies from this place. These people have showed me some measure of tolerance.” With a nod, Korvias managed, despite the size difference, to heft the nearest dead orc over his shoulders. An orc leg in one hand and an arm in the other, the Halfling sidestepped through the front door of the inn. With a heavy sigh, Ayda shook her head and knelt to grab an orc by the foot and followed Korvias outside.

A few hours later, as the sun descended near the horizon, the orc bodies were providing a small bonfire for the people of Wander’s Stop and the inn had been returned to its previous state. One couldn’t quite say clean, and although it was short one table now, the scraps provided good kindling for the bonfire. The cycloptic innkeeper thanked Korvias and Ayda again for their help. “Most folk that end up fighting in a small town’s inn aren’t the type to be cleaning up afterwards. I truly thank you for your help. It’s getting late,” the innkeeper nodded to the fading light outside the door. “You two are welcome to stay the night. No need to fret over the usual fee.”

“Thank you kindly, sir,” Korvias said with a toothy smile. He turned to Ayda, “I still have work that needs doing in the days to come. If you’re interested.”

Korvias’s constant smiling unnerved Ayda. It was suspicious. In her experience, people weren’t nice unless they were looking to manipulate others. She certainly needed the work however. “We can talk out the details tomorrow. I’m exhausted.” Without waiting for a response–she didn’t want to see the halfling’s smile again this day–she asked the innkeeper for a room key.

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