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General How Was Your Last Session?


Mod Squad
Staff member
Our session today was... a little puzzling, and a bit rocky...

Coming back from killing the dragon, the PCs learn that a nearby dwarven mine (Wave Echo Mine, from LMOP - our campaign is set some 20 years after adventurers cleared the mine) is having some issues. It seems a minor quake has opened up a new cavern, and an exploration party, and the following rescue party, both disappeared and didn't return.

So, of course we just walk in.

Turns out the caverns are some place used in the past by some Unseelie Feywild King for... something. He had weird thoughts on how one should lock doors. And just before the end of the session, we discovered that he kept a basilisk as a pet in here...

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The last session was a bit annoying for me as most of the players kept talking over everyone and it was a pain in the but to get in a word edgewise.

We had left off last session with the encounter with the nothic, not having engaged in combat. The paladin, Gundar, decided that it had to die and, thus, initiative was rolled.

The players ended up finishing out the Redbrand hideout and, after chumping the boss last session, were almost brought low by a group of bugbears. While I didn't play the bugbears stupidly, I decided not to play them optimally after a while considering how bad things started out. Even then, I almost killed two PCs and severely injured the others. After that, they became extremely cautious. 😄

Eventually they freed the prisoners and went back to town. for a nice long rest, and reward collecting.


The Avernus crew explored the Tomb of the Hellriders. They were pretty careful overall and did not disturb the dead (except fore the warlock mummies which turned out to be a tough, scary fight for them). They found Olanthius' journals early on but did not open them and instead finished their exploration. They uncovered the ritual chambers and freed the damned Hellrider souls, which got the attention of the death knight. The session ended with the PCs hearing his ironshod footsteps coming down the hall.

Tonight's session was short, in part thanks to a well-placed Evard's black tentacles spell that took out two-thirds of our foes in one fell swoop. (One eventually escaped, but he was already pretty much toast at that point and was easily dispatched.) And my Int 6 lizardfolk found himself in a situation where he had to play dumb, a task for which he is eminently suited.



I got to play in a B/X (Old School Essentials Game). Rolled up a level 1 Magic-User. With a Con bonus, I actually had 5hp!

I then learned to not show up to an undead fight with a charm person spell. Died in the first round of the first combat to an undead cultist.

My next character, an Elf, did much better. Although, I had to run him like a Magic-User because I didn't roll enough gold to afford good armor and good weapons. BUT, he survived.

Unfortunately, he's an Elf. If you don't know B/X, the Elf class is the ultimate gish. It can fight like a fighter and cast like Magic-User. But it takes a time span that feels equal to the age of the universe to level up. So, even after some significant treasure hunting, he's still level 1.


This was a short session, with only 3 out of 5 players available. The characters were infiltrating the underground laboratory beneath Darkhold where Manshoon's clones are created and stored.

Posing as Zhentarim, they bluffed their way past clone guards into the chamber that held the laboratory's power source. Their schtick was to basically act like magical IT bros that had been assigned to diagnose some glitches in the system. They overloaded the power source to start a self-destruct sequence. Then they told the guards to stay put and walked away briskly. The lights in the laboratory turned red. An alarm blared. The entire lab began to shudder and shake.

On their way to the teleportation circle that would get them out of the laboratory, they passed clones -- of themselves. (This twist got a lot of smiles from the players. "Of course we got cloned!") Fortunately the characters were disguised. Nevertheless they got some suspicious looks from their clones.

They reached the teleportation circle and swiftly dispatched the clones guarding it. By this time cracks were appearing in the walls and the ceilings were collapsing. They jumped into the teleportation circle. The runes flared as the circle powered up...then powered down...then up again.

Suddenly the suspicious clones of the characters appeared in the doorway -- lunging toward the characters -- just as they teleported to safety. Behind them, the laboratory imploded, and the entirety of Darkhold collapsed.

Did their clones survive the collapse? Only time will tell...


The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
Our last session was great! After defeating three red dragons, the party pushed on and battled Drow and Mind Flayers. The final battle was climatic but survivable thanks to our bard/wizard who used his portent to charm the last dragon and persuade it not to take part in the battle against us. We vanquished the drow Inquisitor and lackeys, and just managed to save our poor elf retainer from death in the lava river when a salamander grappled him and pulled him under the lava!

Now, we are transitioning over to finish CoS, but then when we return to our main game, we are off to find our ally archdruid and have him send our party into Hell so we can rescue our comrade who is still trapped there. :)
Our transition was delayed and instead we prepared, met our archdruid ally, and he sent us into Hell!

After hours of trekking across the ruins and fires of Avernus, encountering dozens of devils along the way, our friend and his new companions were in sight. We had caught up to the Abishai that had captured them! But as we crossed the bridge, a Red Abishai and Pit Fiend descended towards us! Our sorcerer cast a Wall of Force, angling it to protect us from above. It looked desperate. Low on spells, low on hit points, resources nearly exhausted, when once again our Paladin/Cleric saved the day! Praying to his deity and begging for intervention, the player rolled 09 and everyone cheered! We could not believe that feature would be what saved us twice in a row (each time he's used it, 04 and 09... incredible...).

The battle was still fierce. Barbed devils were gated in and we had to fight them while contenting the the greater devils. Ultimately, we triumphed and freed our friend, the monk, and met his new companions.

Next time (on Monday), we will travel to the gate way hoping it will enable us all to return to the prime material plane. But I know hordes of evil will be there to stop us. We can only hope (and pray again LOL) we will be strong and clever enough to prevail!

(It was another long session: 2 PM until 3 AM! I asked our DM afterwards and he said we defeated over 50 fiends, earned a total of over 267,000 XP, which worked out to over 44,500 XP each! :eek: Crazy, huh?)

We had a somewhat short session today: we got off to a late start and one of our players had hurt herself on Thursday and was still limping. We finished up the short, 1st-level dungeon crawl (where the PCs got just how fragile 1st-level PCs can be reinforced to them once again), and they had to do a fighting retreat while being overwhelmed by dire corbies before being rescued from an unexpected quarter. I had the next short mini-adventure prepped and ready to go, but our hurt player voted to go home and take some of her pain killers instead, so we wrapped it up after about three and a half hours. But I got to role-play a squeaking flumph cleric talking in two-word sentences by pumping air out of its rim-holes, so that was a bonus.



The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
Next time (on Monday), we will travel to the gate way hoping it will enable us all to return to the prime material plane. But I know hordes of evil will be there to stop us. We can only hope (and pray again LOL) we will be strong and clever enough to prevail!

After bluffing our way past a flight of abishai who were pursuing our party (we using Seeming and some good persuasion/deception rolls!), defeating a pair of pit fiends, and waging battle against a hunting pack of hell hounds, spined devils, and erinyess, we reached the fog banks at the edge of the gates that would return us to the prime material plane.

Ambushed by ranks of bone devils, we fought our way through the fog and to the crest of the hill and the gates. Approaching the gates, our cleric/wizard stumbled, looked about, and began babbling nonsense. "Feeblemind!" cried our sorcerer and initiative was rolled.

A stench cow from a nearby small herd erupted, its skin tearing open as its form enlarged, growing and growing into a dracolich! The ancient beast blasted our party with a freezing frost, icy shards tearing into our skins and the last remaining survivor of the captives of hell froze solid, his face a mask of terror. Round after round, the party fought bravely. The paladin's mighty blow crushing into the monster. Volleys of magic and heroic charges assaulted the lone guardian of the gates. The titanic battle waged back and forth as heroes fell to the claw, tooth, and lash of the dracolich. Words of unholy divinity wrought terror into the party, pitted against the counterspells of the bard.

As the dracolich took flight, the wizard dimension doored the severely injured paladin on top of the dracolich, as the barbarian atop it raged and struck mighty blow after blow. The beast faltered. Using his last remnants of divine might, the holy warrior struck the final crushing hit and the undead creature fell from the sky! Plummeting to the dusty, cracked, and burnt ground below, the paladin lay dying, the barbarian staggered to her feet, as the others rushed forth to their aid.

Expending the last of our healing magics, the group past through the mists and through the gates, returning to the elven kingdom, holding fast as the gate slowly closed behind them. Several tense minutes later, we breathed a collective sigh of relief as the gate finally closed, leaving Hell behind us and weeks of recovery and celebration lying ahead.

Now, our group will move to our attempt to defeat Straud. It will be nice to play something a little less tense. ;)


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
My last sessions as a player ... didn't happen. Falling through all at the last minute. Feel free to skip this, need to rant a bit.

A few weeks back we had the triumphant end of our Avernus campaign. That campaign got run because the normal DM for that night needed a break, so we were going back to that.

The same DM was talked into a Star Ware 5e (SW5e) game by another player and I was invited to it. Session 0 occured several weeks ago, we would be meeting Wednesday the following week.

And I'm in a long running group that meets alternate Mondays.

So, the Monday (the 20th) game comes around, and like an hour before start the DM begs off due to work. Hey, RL happens.

Wednesday - SW is pushed back a week.

(Thursday - I was supposed to be running but it was one player's birthday, and she and her husband weren't available.)

Friday - The DM is that just mentioned husband, and they are doing a weekend trip for her birthday, so we're not restarting the game.

Following week - DM starting the SW5e game pushes it back from Wednesday to Friday.

Friday - The DM has had work hit them and never did prep for first session of the SW5e game. Last minute "do I start this new SW game which I'm not feeling, but not this week" or "do we restart tonight the complex political game we put off, but pick it up after a few months down time without being sure we'll be able to play in the near future". Oh, and it's mostly but not complete overlap in players, so we'd be leavign behind one player who's ready for SW and hoping one player who wasn't informed happens to be available on no notice for a Friday night game.

He picks the long running game, but still pushes it back a week.

Monday - we're texting to make sure we're going to play,a dn the DM lets us knwo it's his vacation week so no game. That possibly could have been communicated ahead of time, just maybe? And in two weeks we won't be playing because two players have communicated they will be on vacation.

deep breath Ah. better.


The PCs met van Richten, Monster Slayer! It was wholly unexpected on their part. They want him as an ally SOOO bad but when they learned about this curse they were disappointed. They call him a Phone-A-Friend ally now. All the pieces in Vallaki are drawing to a climax. The church is sanctified with the bones, so I might just have Strahd do a flyby attack and scare the people while the spawn wreak havoc.

OR...Strahd lands, and offers the PCs a personal invitation to the Castle. I don't think they would want to go the castle anyway, as it seems like an obvious trap.



Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
My last session as a DM went well. DMing for four early teens - my kids and a niece and nephew. The previous session they were tracking down the rumors of a two-headed fire-breathing Black Hound terrorrizing the countryside to prevent a mob from running their tiefling friend Chant out of town under the superstition that his infernal blood called it. They found it - and another, and signs of more - killed the Death Dogs, but then Balasar, the Dragonborn Barbarian was infected with it's flesh rotting disease. At 2nd level and no paladin, they had no way to cure it themselves. They collapsed the cave complex it was in and left.

So this session they picked up on different hook from a few sessions back and went searching for the Witch of the Woods for a cure, as the (again, superstitious) villagers called her. But to my surprise they took a little girl with them, who is missing their grandmama. That was another hook (I throw lots at the party in semi-sandbox ways) and they had failed to follow up on the clues they found, but figured maybe this witch could help with that.

The Witch has a fearsome reputation among all the people that they talked to ... except that the womenfolk of the town kind of slyly said she was okay.

After a rather longer trip than they were expecting (bad rolls and they got lost), the came to the area. Leafless trees (it's early winter) with a parliament of crows watching them who flew away en masse. Nothing like pulling out horror tropes on neophyte roleplayers who haven't yet seen it all at the table. Lots of fun.

Anyway, they finally in the evening came across the pipe-smoking dwarven Witch of the Woods, who thoroughly has them convinced that they should only make deals with her in dire need. Which they had.

But really, that's because the (male) dragonborn was going first, and he did a great job playing his proud character who's the last (and therefore heir) of his tribe, and the Witch who doesn't want menfolk (specifically) traipsing through the woods to bother her for her help instead of helping themselves.

So he has pledged three tasks to her, with the flesh rotting disease cured after the first - help protect a young druid in the woods doing her vision quest from a band of intruders in the woods. (Marauding bandits, outgrowth of not following another hook from earlier sessions.)

On the other hand, helping the little girl was for one task - the same one. So basically just to help out the little girl while still seeming to charge a high price. The Witch doesn't like to be disturbed, but is good aligned.

So they are off following a group of crows (exactly one per party member) to find the young druidess-to-be on her vision quest and protect her from the marauders.

Lots of RP, a few challenges and no combat, but they had a great time and asked if I could run again this coming weekend. Even my combat-seeking nephew enjoyed himself, and the promise of marauders next week has him happy.
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I played a short session of Burning Wheel today. I wrote it up fully here. It was good.

My main character, a paladin-type called Thurgon, returned to his ancestral estate, Auxol. He knew that Auxol had fallen into the wrong hands, but he still got a shock when he saw how far his brother Rufus and mother Xanthippe had fallen. But a bit like Gandalf liberating Theoden, Thurgon was able to restore hope and health to his mother. His sidekick Aramina made an enemy of Rufus, calling him out as a contemptible coward, but her own cynicism was overcome when Thurgon called on the divine powers to restore heart to Xanthippe, and now she is going to join them in liberating Auxol.

Our last session this past Thursday will be our last session for awhile, as our two school-age players return to school this week and that opens up some COVID-19 concerns. But we got to go on our hiatus on a high note, as we were able to steal back the Tarrasque soul prison we'd been forced to fetch for our mortal enemy before she was able to figure out to use it to summon the Tarrasque to destroy the city we're pledged on defending, and in doing so inadvertently prevented a plot against the drow House to which our PCs are slaves by capturing the slavemaster who'd been in charge of us when we were first captured as slaves to the drow. So a big win before we put the campaign on hold.



The current arc of my campaign ended in epic fashion. It's a modified version of Storm King's Thunder where the Zhentarim have been the power secretly manipulating the giants. Manshoon had seized Blackstaff Tower and the player characters assaulted it with the help of multiple NPC allies. (Spoiler: Most of the NPCs died.) The characters are 15th level.

This session was the final showdown with Manshoon. It started in Blackstaff Tower and then literally went to Hell and back. It featured a lot of big character moments and unexpected twists, so I guess the simplest way to tell this story is by recapping what happened with each character.

Elf arcane trickster rogue: In the previous session, he and several NPC allies destroyed the laboratory where thousands of Manshoon clones were kept in statis, thus clearing the way for the destruction of the true Manshoon. When the session started, he arrived in the teleportation circle at Blackstaff Tower. Soon, he was fighting waves of Zhentarim reinforcements, including a longstanding mini-boss. He landed the killing blow on the mini-boss.

Aasimar vengeance paladin: In the previous session, he had been teleported to the other side of Waterdeep. Manshoon was in possession of the Blackstaff itself, which he used to awaken the Walking Statues of Waterdeep. Those statues were now rampaging across the city, destroying everything in their path. Rather than fight the Statues, the paladin decided to return to Blackstaff Tower and confront Manshoon. He unfurled his radiant wings and flew across the rooftops to Blackstaff Tower. Once the tower was in sight, he used dimension door to teleport inside. There, he found his mentor, the high priest of Ilmater, dead. Alongside him was Vajra Safahr, the legitimate wielder of the Blackstaff, also dead. Both at the hands of Zhentarim agents. The paladin killed two of the Zhents, then used revivify to bring the high priest back to life.

Halfling lore bard: Actually, the halfling's soul is trapped in Hell. But none of the characters know that. Controlling the halfling's body is the soul of his deceased rival, a vainglorious bard pledged to the Archdevil Glasya. (More on Glasya later.) The halfling's ambitious brother is in league with the Zhentarim and now rules Waterdeep as their puppet Open Lord. Like the paladin, the halfling had been teleported across Waterdeep, into the path of a rampaging Walking Statue. Taking cover, the halfling used a teleport spell to travel to Waterdeep Palace. He entered his brother's private chambers. Charmed him. Had him sign over his powers to the halfling. And then shoved him off the balcony to his death. It was a big time Cersei Lannister play that shocked the other players. They still do not realize that the halfling is under the control of someone much more evil.

Tiefling shadow sorcerer: She is the daughter of Manshoon and Glasya. Glasya wants her to kill Manshoon. Manshoon wants her to kill him, too. But, once he's dead, his soul will transfer into the Blackstaff. From there, he can mentally control the sorcerer. By day, she will be the new master of Blackstaff Tower. By night, she will secretly rule the Zhentarim. But in truth the soul of Manshoon will be the power behind the throne. Together, they will rule the Realms as father and daughter! Well, the sorcerer had other plans. When her companions were forcibly teleported out of Blackstaff Tower by Manshoon, she was left alone with him and his last two surviving clones. Approaching Manshoon, she hit him with a plane shift spell. Together, they arrived at Glasya's palace in Hell. Mother and daughter now had father in their clutches. Cursing them both, Manshoon struck Glasya with the Blackstaff. Retributive strike! As the staff exploded, the sorcerer was sent hurtling across the multiverse. She awoke under gray skies, floating in the dark waters off the shore of an isle of black stone. On the isle was a single lonely tower. Intuitively, she knew she was in the Shadowfell. She entered the tower -- Manshoon's private sanctum. Following a trail of blood, she found a dying Manshoon on the floor of his arcane library. "What are you waiting for," he rasped. "Finish it!" And she did...with a firebolt to the face. Moments later, her half-brother Zorion appeared. An enforcer for the Red Wizards, he had loaned her a Staff of Power to combat Manshoon. In truth, he had used the Staff to track her movements...and she had led him straight to the vast power of Manshoon's arcane sanctum. His masters in the Red Wizards would be pleased. Too weak to fight Zorion, she fled. But not before stealing Manshoon's Staff of the Magi and Robes of the Archmagi. Using the power of a permanent magic item to fuel her sorcery, she plane shifted back to Waterdeep. At Blackstaff Tower, the surviving Zhentarim immediately recognized her authority. They knelt and pledged loyalty to the new leader of the Zhentarim!

Human beast master ranger: This player was a no-show. His character fought the Zhentarim offscreen, away from the action. When it was all over, the ranger walked into the scene and said, "So what did I miss?" Ha!

So much happened so quickly that my players literally burned through or made obsolete the next three adventures I had planned. Months of content down the drain! It was glorious. My players made some big, bold, unexpected choices.

We're taking two weeks off from this campaign so I can figure out what happens next. I think I'm going to throw a big party with all the key NPCs that celebrates the PC's victory and frames up several adventure options for them to choose from.
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Short session in my Dragon Heist/Deck of Many Things mashup campaign. Player characters are 3rd level. In the last session, they tangled with ettercaps and chitines in service to a drow house. The creatures had a map that pointed back to an abandoned clock tower in Waterdeep's North Ward. (I used the map of the Shadow Clock from the Skinsaw Murders adventure in Paizo's Rise of the Runelords campaign.) In the dead of night, the players entered through the ground floor. They fought a CR3 trapper concealed on the floor and the noise drew the attention of the tower's other inhabitants, who are now on alert. Next session they'll ascend the tower and do battle with a hive of chitines and their choldrith mistress.


PCs are 4th level in my modified Dragon of Icespire Peak. They're nearing the climactic assault on Icespire itself, but before then they have to clear out the cult of the dwarven god of greed, Abbathor, that has been secretly thwarting them all along. The dwarven cultists have a hidden temple beneath the Miner's Exchange in Phandalin. The characters entered the Exchange and descended into the temple below. (I used the Temple of Asmodeus from Dragon Heist, which is a really tasty map for a tactical encounter.) Sneaking into one of the balconies over the main chamber, the characters got the drop on two cultist lookouts and dispatched them quickly. But there's another balcony on the opposite side, and the characters were unable to take out those cultists before they shouted a warning to their comrades. Next session, they take on all the temple's defenders.
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Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
My last session, over just a few minutes ago, was GREAT. Mostly because of what it means moving forward.

We're playing in a Greek themed game set in the city-state of Vesta. We're all members of Athena's Legions, though we were basically A-Teamed by Zeus, but after we escaped we have proven our innocence to the Legions and are working as deniable secret forces. (But we're still wanted criminals.)

Anyway, we're following a lead from an outside source (not the legion) that is brings us to the Bank/Crime Syndicate/Church of Apollo, where the Oracle of Apollo has been suborned long ago. Among the things we're trying to do is free a noble who is of the family that controls access to the Oracle that led a failed coup 20 years ago trying to realign it for the people. That she did with our commanding officer.

Various things happen and our infiltration mission ends up a lot ... messier than we wanted. But we've gotten to where she's kept and all that's there is a mirror that's trying to suck us into it. Through various means we first find a way to bring the trapped to the surface to converse, and then the command word to release them. We release the PC who got trapped inside, and then the Lady who attempted the coup. She had been in there for 20 years, had no idea how much time had passed.

Then, on a hunch, my Cleric calls out the name of our commanding officer who was the co-conspiritor on the coup.

The DM suddenly gets a far-away look, you can see the wheels spinning. 10 seconds, 15, 20. Then on his face a decision made: Yes, our commander also steps out, having been imprisoned the last 20 years.


Everything just altered, plotwise. Suddenly our commander, 2nd in charage of all of Athena's Legions, has gone from trustworth leader of the secret forces to an impostor who has lived the life for twenty years.

We ended the session early, only took it to the point where we got him back to HQ. I don't blame the DM - I'd absolutely need time to work out this new direction and have it be satisfying. The intrigue of this is going to be sooooo great.

Can't wait for what comes next.


PCs are 3rd level in my Dragon Heist/Deck of Many Things mashup. This session was one big set piece fight that was suitably cinematic. The PCs are going after a group of drow, one of many factions seeking a lost treasure vault somewhere in Waterdeep. They have backtracked part of the drow operation to an abandoned, 100 foot high clock tower in North Ward. In the previous session they entered the tower and overcame a giant spider and trapper on the ground floor.

This session they ascended the winding, rickety staircase and were soon fighting all the way to the top. A pair of chitines unmoored the bells at the top of the tower. The four bells crashed through the stairs, narrowly missing the PCs. The halfling rogue was left trapped and isolated, the staircase ripped away on either side. Two more chitines skittered down the wall and attacked the half-orc fighter and half-elf wizard. The rogue leapt the gap, grabbed hold of the ascending stairs, and dashed toward the top of the tower. The chitines that dropped the bells converged on him, aided by a giant spider. The rogue cut the spider's web, sending it tumbling down several floors, but finally landing on the stairs behind the wizard. Then the rogue hurled a lucky dagger up to the beams that once held the bells, breaking them loose and taking out another chitine. Meanwhile, on the stairs below, the fighter used his gloves of swimming and climbing to cross the gap created by the falling bells. Together, the fighter and wizard defeated the remaining chitines and the giant spider.

The rogue then scouted ahead to the two chambers that topped the tower. In the uppermost chamber he discovered the leader of this operation, a hideous choldrith. The rogue fled back to his companions, who unloaded everything they had on the choldrith. In turn, it used dark powers to summon the shadows of the bellringers who had died in the clock tower. The shadows attacked the fighter, draining his strength. But the rogue hit the choldrith with a devastating critical hit sneak attack, and the wizard finished it off with a firebolt to the face.

Next session they search the clock tower for clues to the drow's operation and decide which of them to pursue.
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Halloween Horror For 5E