Five adventurers and one son of a nobleman are selected by lottery as Tributes from the poorest region of Panem:
Lycan Thorpe, a male dragonborn warlord.
Obrie Potatosmith, a female eladrin wizard.
Moragwen Lightouch, a female halfling rogue.
Dodgeon Ogrescrush, a male dwarf cleric of Moradin.
Vinna Dawntracker, a half-elf female paladin of Melora.
Meeka Knife (NPC), son of an assistant to the district mayor.
The drawing is a public affair at the square of their respective towns, with a district representative present.
After having a brief moment with their families, the Tributes are given an enchanted collar and warned to stay with boundaries drawn by the wizards that escort them.
The Tributes are escorted in pairs on magic trains imbued with elemental magic; it is perfectly silent and smooth of a ride, and the world whizzes by.
The train is opulent in its own right, with couches and tables, and service with delicious foods from the Capitol, like lobster and lamb with succulent sauces.
Meeka, a pale, skinny, dark-eyed 16 year-old, rocks back and forth, mumbling about how “this shouldn’t be happening”
The Tributes arrive in pairs at the Capitol and taken to carriages attached to pure white horses with intricate decorative saddles and plumes, that ride through the streets of the city as onlookers wave, cheer, taunt, and celebrate the arrival of the new Hunger Games contestants with confetti and streamers.
The district representatives ride with the Tributes but have little to say.
The citizens of the Capitol are beautiful, clearly magically enhanced, with swirling marks and other strange fashionable effects on their bodies.
They leave the main city and travel alongside the mountains on a cobblestone road until they reach the Colosseum.
With the fanfare over, the Tributes are escorted from their carriages into a stone holding area separated by region; the regional representatives leave on the carriage.
The Tributes are led beneath the Colosseum to regional quarters; each quarter holds a sitting room and individual rooms for each Tribute; Avoxes are met for the first time; and cooks deliver fresh meals; the rooms are decorated as well as they can be, with tapestries, paintings, and rugs, and more decorative yet comfortable couches.
No representatives are present, only the Avoxes.
Meeka munches nervously at his food.
Eventually all of the Tributes from the region arrive and look each other over.
Meeka is entranced by the Obrie because eladrin are incredibly rare in Panem; Lycan takes this as a sign of interest and threatens Meeka, but Meeka is familiar with threats and other dealings with the commoners through his father, and doesn’t seem bothered; however, it reveals that Lycan feels something for the Obrie, and there continued body language reveals a love interest there.
Meeka asks if anyone knows how to fight; Dodgeon appears a bit more talkative than the rest and claims to have been in a fight or two.
Meeka tries to form an alliance with Dodgeon, but Dodgeon sees little potential in Meeka.
When Meeka learns Dodgeon can heal, he exclaims that this might be the first time in 20 or so years of Games history; he seems to know a thing or two about the games.
After awhile, a large (size, not girth), non-Avox cook named Glee Riverbottom leaves and wishes the group a good night; he implies that they need their rest.
Meeka returns to his room to rest but spends his time crying.
Obrie, feeling for the unfortunate kid, invites him back to the room to discuss tactics.
Though there is little concrete to go off of, both Meeka and Obrie seem to have enough knowledge about the routine of the Games to predict that the group will first square off from creatures outside the Colosseum, often referencing a past historical event like the Fall of Empires or Dark Days.
The group agrees to work together; Meeka is ecstatic at the proposition; when Dodgeon asks how Meeka can benefit the group, he claims his understanding of the games might be helpful, claims his father might benefit the group with gifts, and lies about being skilled with a dagger; Dodgeon and Moragwen clearly see this is untrue.
Eventually the group turns in, and only awakens to rumblings in the ceiling caused by a roaring crowd in the Colosseum above.
A large woman named Effie Trinket arrives in their regional quarters; Effie is their regional representative; she escorts the Tributes from the regional quarters to a preparation area beneath the Colosseum; where cages are rigged with pulleys up to the Colosseum; weapons and shield racks are visible in the corners of the room; other Tributes are visible, including one huge blue dragonborn (only just smaller than Lycan), two other dragonborn, a pair of tieflings, 3 dwarves, 2 halflings, 6 humans, a half-elf, and 2 elves (uncommon); the 3 dragonborn, 1 dwarf, and 3 humans are from the rich region that usually win the games.
The group is escorted before an open cage; Effie calls to a barrel-chested human man named Shepherd, who is chatting with a thin man with very angular features; Shepherd almost looks like a tall dwarf, with gray on his beard beneath his lower lip; Shepherd has a limp; the man Shepherd was talking to has triangular eyebrows and white eyebrow and goatee hair; his hair is otherwise jet black, very styled, and he has a vest on with a gold chain and puffy sleeves; he is a fashionable man, but seems very familiar with the Colosseum.
Shepherd looks over the adventurers and through clenched teeth asks them to gear up; the adventurers grab weapons according to their preference; heavy armor is equipped with the help of avox.
When the adventurers return, Shepherd tells them three things: stay alive, show them everything you’ve got, and keep together and in sight of each other at all times.
The group is huddled in the cage, the door shuts, the cage rises, the roar of the crowd is deafening, and then it all instantaneously goes silent as blackness envelopes the group.
The cage door can be heard opening.
When their eyes adjust to the dark, the group can see a pale blue light, almost like dusk, outside of a doorway before them.
Hissing sounds can be heard in the pitch black behind them. They see eyes reflecting in the light.
Obrie casts a light cantrip and reveals 6 frowning goblins coming at the adventurers with daggers.
The adventurers notice a black, flickering, buzzing smoke traveling behind the goblins.
Someone notices that the smoke is actually a swarm of black insects of unknown origin.
Vinna is rushed by a goblin minion and the minion delivers a devastating blow with a critical attack.
Vinna is quickly surrounded by goblins, but Obrie uses her Scorching Burst to drop two of the incoming goblins.
Obrie backs out of the cave but is rushed by a bugbear waiting outside, who swings its greataxe at Obrie, taking advantage of her lack of nearby friends to deal a devastating blow.
Obrie and Vinna are badly hurt, but Lycan uses an Inspiring Word to help Obrie.
Dodgeon follows up by healing Vinnaand destroying another minion, leaving the party with an opportunity to focus their fire on the bugbear.
Everyone starts to drop their most powerful attacks on the bugbear, and it quickly begins to look haggard.
Moragwen tries to surround the bugbear but the bugbear gets lucky and hits her hard. The bugbear soon follows the attack and drops Moragwen unconscious.
Lycan grants temporary hit points to his team and Dodgeon restores Vinna and rushes to help Moragwen, who rises with temporary hit points.
Vinna draws the attention of the bugbear, and the team gathers outside the cave to finish it off.
Meanwhile, Meeka has been paralyzed with fear between the incoming goblins and the bugbear, but the goblins in the cave soon descend on him, dropping him unconscious as the black insect swarm the cave and swarms at its entrance, as though blocked by an invisible wall.
Lycan drops the last goblin minion as it comes from the cave, but its bloody swords suggests it finished Meeka off, inside the swarm.
Lycan, feeling badly for Meeka and hoping to gain more information about his allegiances, takes attacks from two other emerging cave goblins and plunges into the swarm to help Meeka, who is barely hanging on to life.
Lycan sees as the swarm contacts his armor and weapons that anything metal—his armor and weapons—corrode and rust to nothingness before his eyes.
Lycan finds Meeka and searches him, finding a note before healing him and helping out of the cave.
Everyone outside finishes off the goblins, and upon doing so, the entire scene—swarm, cave, and outdoors—fades to dust as the roar of crowds reappears, and the adventurers find themselves in the middle of the Colosseum pelted by roses.
Dead goblins and bugbear become dead halfling arena gladiatorial slaves and a large human champion.
The team is escorted The Capitol guard and wizards back to their quarters. Healers heal their wounds.
Lycan goes back to his room to read Meeka‘s note—it’s a letter to his parents with his last words.
Shepherd soon appears and congratulates the team on a job well done. He tells them no team has ever survived the first round of the game intact before (and wouldn’t if not for Lycan’s act of bravery).
Shepherd has important to share with the group, after they rest.