Thumper is a 1st edition D&D character. He is one of several player characters in the Suhalla campaign run by Stephen West over the years 2008 to present, though the characters mentioned in Thumper's accounts don't go beyond 2013. (Things have been much less active in recent years. That happens.)
This first chapter is being presented in web page format, though later ones will be pdf files (easier to generate). The first several chapters and a few of the others are presentad as a first person narrative by Thumper. Many of the later chapters, those played out by email, are in the form of the dialog between DM and character. That may be of interest to anyone wanting to see how a good DM manages his campaign, and some of the interesting (and unexpected) things that can occur.
Howdy. My name is Thumper. Yes, I know, it's a stupid name. I've heard all about that, more times than I'd like to remember. It was my mother's fault. She named me after her favorite rabbit. I remember old Thumper. He was a fairly big stud rabbit, and did his job well, I suppose, or at least for longer than any of the others. He died when I was 5 or 6, and finally I couldn't just assume someone was calling the rabbit when I heard my name.
Raising rabbits for fur and meat isn't exactly a business your going to get rich doing, and my family wasn't. Still, there was this rich uncle. I've heard it said that he was the one that cheated the rest of the family out of their rightful inheritance. I don't know about that; it was before my time. But this uncle, Uncle Tyson, was into chickens rather than rabbits, so he didn't try to run my folks out of business like he did everyone else who got in his way. In fact, since I was the second son and not needed by my family, and since he didn't have any sons, he took a special liking to me. My brother Buggs was supposed to inherit our business, you see, and there wasn't going to be any foolishness of dividing it up, either. Daddy was clear on that. Second sons are extras. Uncle Tyson didn't have a son. Just one daughter.
So, I think Uncle Tyson was figuring to set me up to marry his daughter Julliana, let her inherit his business, and use me as a figurehead, or something like that. I suppose he figured I'd be pliable and go along with it. He could browbeat me easily enough. The money would be good, after all. Julliana was something else. You wouldn't want to get in her way either. Nothing was actually said. But he offered to help finance my education, to "pull me out of the mire of poverty," as he put it. He was sure that this would fulfill his duty that clerics are always talking about to help the less fortunate, I suppose. I don't know that he ever helped anybody else less fortunate. But, it didn't make sense for me to complain; I more or less went along with it all.
So that's how I happened to be in Dale, studying under the wizard Trukus. Trukus was into business related magic, things like helping convoys, healing horses, plant growth, predicting weather, finding out what your competitor would do, and stuff like that. Nothing exactly illegal, and nothing exactly condemned by the Church, but stuff that Old Daddy Tyson figured could help him get richer than he already was. One of the things he wanted to get into was trade by ship, so he could sell his chickens across the whole of Suhalla and put all the other chicken merchants out of business. So, I studied some navigation and such on the side while I was at it.
There was one big problem with Old Tyson's plan, and its name was Julliana. She hadn't the least interest in me, and that was just as well as far as I was concerned. Not exactly a surprise; none of the other girls were ever interested in me either. Julliana was an attractive girl, and bigger than me, and, well, did I say that you wouldn't want to cross her? She was dangerous, and just as determined as the old man, but he put the pressure on her pretty hard.
She was actually interested in the man that supervised Old Man Tyson's horses, a gent named Amarillo. He was an ambitious bloke, who teased me and commented how he'd like to shove my face into the manure pile. I was pretty small; still am, as you can see. I don't know if he disliked me on general principles, or just because Old Tyson was pushing Julliana at me. I expect the latter. He was the type who'd want to be boss man of everything. I was sure he and Julliana were planning something, either to bump me off permanently, or maybe something not so bad, so I was watching my back.
But, I fell into the trap anyway. I won't go into the details, but Julliana caught me and forced me into what you'd call a "compromised" position, and in walks Old Man Tyson, with good old Amarillo holding a whip in company. Did I tell you Julliana was strong? I was caught sure enough, and there wasn't much I could say. I'm sure Julliana and Amarillo figured this would get me banished with prejudice. But were they surprised! Old man Tyson let out a bellow, and said, "At last, acting like a man, Thumper! We'll have you married this evening!"
You should have seen Amarillo's face! And, Julliana pushed me away like I was a full chamberpot. Amarillo was arguing with Tyson about this being a time for the appropriate use of his whip. Julliana was weeping about how horribly I had abused her. Nobody saw me slip away out the window until I was over the sill.
I ran. I knew I wouldn't be able to outdistance the horses, so I found a place to hide while the pursuit rode past. Fortunately, Tyson didn't keep dogs. They eat chickens and suck eggs. So, I was able to hide until nightfall, then steal away overland by the back ways and make it to Madra.
I wasted no time hiring out cheap on a ship that needed a navigator, carrying a cargo to Daila. Trouble was, I really hadn't done any real navigation before. Just practice stuff. I hadn't told the merchant that, of course. But he found out. We went aground on some rocks outside the harbor when we unexpectedly made landfall at Dalia in the fog. It was a good thing I can swim. I suppose he assumed I was drowned, but I did make it into the town after a wet trek down the shoreline. Good thing I had made the precaution of keeping my valuables in a water tight pack on my person.
The next few days I lay low to avoid the merchant, who was making arrangements to salvage the cargo. That used up most of my money. Finally, after he left, I found myself at last free of immediate pursuit. And, unfortunately, near broke. I figure that I'm going to need some money, and soon.