Noobhammer!

The ongoing adventures of a group of new D&D players in their first game

Thorus And The Beggar Man

With apologies to Patrick Rothfuss…

As Thorus tells it, a beggar man was walking the long road. He had nothing, neither cloak nor finery nor shoes; not one copper jot had he to his name. The Bear was well into its slumber and the frozen scrub was sharp beneath his feet.

The man left the road seeking shelter from the wind and the snow, when he saw the flicker of firelight in the woods. Despite his keen sense of danger, the hunger in the man’s belly drove him forward, and he approached the camp. A band of gnomes were warming themselves against a small campfire, and sharing a loaf of fresh ironbread still black from the pan. When they saw him, they made no move to welcome him.

“Peace, friends,” said the beggar, “I seek only a scrap of firelight that I won’t freeze, and a sliver of food that I won’t starve.”

“What can you pay us?” asked a gnome.

“Only my gratitude,” said the man, “For the alms were poor today.”

“Then begone,” said the gnome, “We cannot spend gratitude.” So the beggar man walked on.

Further into the woods he found a second fire, and around it a group of elves.

“Peace, friends,” said the beggar, “I seek only a scrap of firelight that I won’t freeze, and a sliver of food that I won’t starve.”

“Our horse threw a shoe. Re-shoe him and we will feed you,” said an elf.

“You have my sympathies, but I have not the skill to do as you ask,” said the beggar.

“Then begone,” said the elf, “Your sympathies won’t pull our cart.” So the beggar man walked on.

By now the night was on, and a hungry wind was biting. At last the beggar man saw a third fire. Before it sat an old man, older even than the beggar. He had a heavy cloak pulled about his broad, powerful shoulders, and the flames danced in his milky eyes. To one side lay a massive broadsword, and next to it a crooked staff. The old man raised his head at the beggar’s coming, and gave him a nod.

“Peace, friend,” said the beggar, “I seek only a scrap of firelight that I won’t freeze, and a sliver of food that I won’t starve. But I have nothing to pay with, and am too weak to work; indeed I have nothing offer.”

“Have you a life?” asked the man.

The beggar’s wide eyes were drawn to the sword, which seemed to stare back at him, expectant. And the beggar answered “I have had a long life, friend, though the night is not done.”

The old man’s eyes betrayed the briefest mirth, and he said, “Then come by my fire and drink of my ale, and for this kindness, tell me your tale.”

– “Thorus and The Beggar Man,” from Doranth Hammer-My-Soul-O-Moradin’s Five Hundred and Twenty-Three Tales Of Moral Fortitude And Righteousness For Children Of Questionable Disposition, 3116 M.E.