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D&D General How Was Your Last Session?

119th session. Five players with seven PCs (and an ancient silver dragon...it's complicated) at 20th level. Plus six epic boons each. We're probably three sessions away from the campaign's end.

Previously: Tiamat has been released from hell and is rampaging across Celestia. Using the mythical Sword of Io that created both Tiamat and Bahamut, Tiamat has slain Bahamut and Ilmater. The group's aasimar vengeance paladin worships Ilmater, the god of (relieving) suffering. The group has been aided and abetted for nearly 50 sessions by Glasya, archdevil of the sixth layer of Hell and mother to the group's tiefling shadow sorcerer.

This session started with the PCs standing amidst Tiamat's treasure hoard on Avernus, the first layer of Hell. I let the players choose any all magic items they wanted. Several artifacts were selected, a few legendary items, and lots of Keoghtem's Ointment! This was one of my favorite moments in the campaign...letting high level PCs gear up for the final showdown with an impossible foe. Unforgettable.

The PCs planeshifted back to Waterdeep. There they rested and said their farewell to important NPCs under the assumption they might not make it back alive from the final battle with Tiamat. It was unexpectedly touching. Good stuff.

Finally, the PCs planeshifted to Celestia. There they found Ilmater's headless body impaled on the Sword of Io. Guarding this were three erinyes sisters of the tiefling sorcerer. The sisters revealed that Glasya was actually in secret alliance with Tiamat, eager to kill gods of good, and take their divine portfolios to ascend to godhood herself. At that moment, the players realized that they'd been duped, played like violins by Glasya. (The evil DM in me gave a big high five.) The inevitable battle was short. But the erinyes laughed with their last breaths, knowing they would just reform in Hell.

Next session: The Palace of Bahamut and the Head of Ilmater!
 

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hopeless

Explorer
Terrible the DM likes to make us roll for checks when unnecessary and completely overrode control over my character so his wife's character could test a feather fall spell on my character.
He kept hinting he was planning on shifting his campaign setting into Exandria despite repeatedly denying leading up to the first game and me running a game of my own set in Exandria a century before the Vox Machina campaign.
Its not the first time he screwed up when we first started he used my character's background into his introductory adventure and after it ended claimed none of it was relevant despite apparently killing my character's son off and refusing to allow her to find his body so she could have some closure.
Please note the village the game was set in was a perfect place to set up the campaign for a low level party to go up a couple of levels before returning to the Port City.
I ended up running my Exandria game to explain my cleric had been banished into his world and was seeking a way back after recovering her memories following a brief bout of amnesia.
And now he decided to move his setting there despite it already in use and was already stated as an entirely different world.
I ended up quitting as it was clear he wasn't going to listen and clearly I had wasted my time gaming with them as his railroad had gone off the tracks given his inability to stay in his own setting.
Sorry still angry over it.
 


el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Session #20 started with the party in something of a stand-off with some assassins, and the party's gnomish bard/wizard nearly getting his throat slit. But they managed to defeat the group and assassin leader called off his attack when he saw he had been lied to about who he was supposed to kill (refuses to kill other tieflings without provocation) and actually gave them a lead to find out the specifics of who hired him (through an intermediary, so he could not just tell them).

There was one interesting scene, where the party met a principled cleric/monk who helped them with healing and even arranged for the thugs that survived to be stabilized and carried off to wait for the authorities. She was heading in the same direction as the party so they agreed to travel together, however the next morning when all the "common people" (seasonal laborers, pilgrims, etc) lined up to get a ferry over some floodlands, they all parted to let all the bad-ass and scary adventures move to the front and get on first, but Ottie (the monk) demurred and insisted on not taking advantage, so they got on without her and then she missed that ferry and had to the wait for the next. The party was psyched to have a dedicated healer traveling with them, but annoyed they immediately lost her because of her principles.

Eventually they got a message that she made it to town about half a day after they did, but they still haven't re-found her.

Meanwhile, the PCs were investigating two mysteries they are not sure are related. One was a mysterious voice coming out of the swamp, singing gorgeously and that a young NPC friend has asked them to investigate b/c she is convinced it is her destined love out there. The other is the mysterious disappearances of people in town some of which re-appear with flimsy excuses about where they have been. Among the disappearances they investigated was the sage that hired them for their first adventure and the town prefect (basically the mayor). While sneaking around the latter's house for clues, the local constable showed up with his two deputies to question them - but the party had heard that these men showed up after the prefect went missing and had been bullying people into accepting them as the town authority, so decided to fight. It was a tough fight (the party druid did not participate holding back while searching the house in rat form) and before dying the constable yelled out for the town to beware these new invaders and brigands. When the party headed back to the inn they were staying at outside of town they noticed a couple of nearby shops had closed as they passed.

At the end of the session, the party druid was in dog form hiding in the brush near where the mysterious swamp singer had been coming to pick up the food, flowers, and notes that the lovestruck girl had been leaving for him. As a fishing boat came around the bend in a stream, appearing from behind a clump of mangroves, the druid heard the singer. . . he kinda sounds like this. . .


. . . but the surprising part? He was a troll! A shrimpy, gaunt, troll - small for his kind, but still big enough. . . He noticed something in the brush and his troll eyes met the druid-dog's. . . . and we ended right there. (The rest of the party was enjoying downtime at the inn).
 
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Session #20 started with the party in something of a stand-off with some assassins, and the party's gnomish bard/wizard nearly getting his throat slit. But they managed to defeat the group and assassin leader called off his attack when he saw he had been lied to about who he was supposed to kill (refuses to kill other tieflings without provocation) and actually gave them a lead to find out the specifics of who hired him (through an intermediary, so he could not just tell them).

There was one interesting scene, where the party met a principled cleric/monk who helped them with healing and even arranged for the thugs that survived to be stabilized and carried off to wait for the authorities. She was heading in the same direction as the party so they agreed to travel together, however the next morning when all the "common people" (seasonal laborers, pilgrims, etc) lined up to get a ferry over some floodlands, they all parted to let all the bad-ass and scary adventures move to the front and get on first, but Ottie (the monk) demurred and insisted on not taking advantage, so they got on without her and then she missed that ferry and had to the wait for the next. The party was psyched to have a dedicated healer traveling with them, but annoyed they immediately lost her because of her principles.

Eventually they got a message that she made it to town about half a day after they did, but they still haven't re-found her.

Meanwhile, the PCs were investigating two mysteries they are not sure are related. One was a mysterious voice coming out of the swamp, singing gorgeously and that a young NPC friend has asked them to investigate b/c she is convinced it is her destined love out there. The other is the mysterious disappearances of people in town some of which re-appear with flimsy excuses about where they have been. Among the disappearances they investigated was the sage that hired them for their first adventure and the town prefect (basically the mayor). While sneaking around the latter's house for clues, the local constable showed up with his two deputies to question them - but the party had heard that these men showed up after the prefect went missing and had been bullying people into accepting them as the town authority, so decided to fight. It was a tough fight (the party druid did not participate holding back while searching the house in rat form) and before dying the constable yelled out for the town to beware these new invaders and brigands. When the party headed back to the inn they were staying at outside of town they noticed a couple of nearby shops had closed as they passed.

At the end of the session, the party druid was in dog form hiding in the brush near where the mysterious swamp singer had been coming to pick up the food, flowers, and notes that the lovestruck girl had been leaving for him. As a fishing boat came around the bend in a stream, appearing from behind a clump of mangroves, the druid heard the singer. . . he kinda sounds like this. . .


. . . but the surprising part? He was a troll! A shrimpy, gaunt, troll - small for his kind, but still big enough. . . He noticed something in the brush and his troll eyes met the druid-dog's. . . . and we ended right there. (The rest of the party was enjoying downtime at the inn).
Sounds like a fun session!
 

Azzy

KMF DM
Gundar, the dwarf in the party wanted to reignite the blast furnace in Wave Echo Cave after the clared the rubble that blocked the stream that fed the waterwheel. Farrus, the bard, decided that he wanted to go wander off by himself while the rest of the party was preoccupied... And he found himself walking into a random encounter of five stirges that I had just rolled moments before.

I managed to bring the sixth-level bard down to four hp before the rest of the party could come to his rescue. I was hoping to bring him to zero (there would have been no risk of actual death considering the cleric was relatively close by) just so I could gloat about it, but alas!

Most of the party then proceeded to be dense as I tried to provide them ample hints from an NPC about how to deal with a certain situation, but only the ranger's player caught on (but refused to use player knowledge, which was cool, as his character didn't have a background or the requisite skills to do anything about it).
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Last session wasn't particularly productive, but set us up well.

This is the game for my teenaged kids, niece and nephew. There's one bit of context I need to bring in - multiple sessions back one character arc had our drow rogue heading for "the tallest peak" due to a vision (from Eilistraee), which was going to be heading north into the tundra and the land of the dragonborn tribes. One of the other players, the eladrin bard, mentioned how she really wanted to do urban and had no interest in more long cross-country quests, which we had been doing already. So we reworked it that the sailor knew that the actual tallest peak was down the coast.

Fast forward to this session. After a show side adventure, they have arrived in a moderately sized city. The players have been telling me that they want to have a homebase that they adventure out of so I made the city and the surroundings interesting and dynamic.

But first thing they wanted to do was take some downtime - the barbarian and the sorceress/warlock wanted to compete in the illegal pitfightings, the bard to play, the rogue to enroll the brass dragon wyrmlings in school. (There was also a snafu where at the end of last session they talked about getting a nanny for the brass wyrmlings and I prepped for that, and at the actual session only one of them wanted to do that. Oh well.)

So we go through, I'm handing out rumors and contacts, doing short montages with everyone, resolving the mechanical parts of the downtime. After a week they're looking at a questboard and following up getting information on one, having just settled in, rented a house for a month, found socialization for the brass wyrmlings, got some contacts and rivals moving ... and the rogue wants to follow the vision she had. Which is still a bunch to the south. The player was really apologetic (the character was a bit as well), almost breaking down because everyone was into the whole city and so was she - but she couldn't leave this hanging.

So we suddenly pivoted into trying to find a ship (this is the northernmost city and it's mid winter), chartering it, and preparing to head out. It needs two days to prepare, and a plot I had that the rogue had intersected germinated. And that's where we ended the session.

So not so much was done, but lots of color and foundation work for the city. We have a clear idea of what we're doing next session (including a little bit of urban adventure that the bard was asking about before the ship leaves), and then a quest to fulfill a vision for a goddess.

Should be fun!
 

Vael

Hero
So tonight's session might have been the most hilarious session I've ever run. We ended the previous week on a cliffhanger, and one of the players wasn't available tonight. So, rather than press on, we did a flashback. Now, ever since the beginning of the campaign, when I was running Dragon Heist, one of the Warlocks in my group has been enraptured with the stuffed beholder that sat in the window of Old Xoblob's Shop. And now, has decided to organize a caper to steal said stuffed beholder.

So, the remaining PCs participate in the heist. The crafty (literally, he's been working in the neighbouring forge) Paladin and one of the Rogues made a substitute beholder to replace the real one, and they snuck into the shop in the dead of night. Unfortunately, the Warlock and other Rogue (the party consists of 2 Warlocks, 2 Rogues, a Paladin and the absent Druid) gloriously failed their Strength checks to carry out the Beholder and woke up the shopkeeper. In a moment of panic, the Warlock cast Hunger of Hadar up the stairs to the apartment. Which ended up killing the shopkeeper, from the damage and then the fall down the stairs. My other Warlock, a Hexblade, decided to use his Accursed Specter feature on the fallen shopkeeper. I know, not technically allowed given the Hexblade didn't kill the shopkeeper, but it was so hilarious I had to allow it.

The party then decided to clean up the shop and scatter around more of the marijuana equivalent that the shopkeeper liked to smoke, making his death seem like an accident after over-indulging. And later seek out a Cleric to raise the Shopkeeper from the dead. The end result is that the Shopkeeper was brought back, the Warlock is out a thousand gold and a favour to a noble (He bought a 500gp diamond for the Raise Dead and 2 scrolls of Enlarge/Reduce to make the 2 stuffed Beholders small enough to maneuver around the shop, and the nobleman had the connections to find a high level Cleric) to secure the stuffed Beholder, which is now mounted in their home's common area. And, for those that know the feature of the stuffed Beholder, this is pretty hilarious ... to me.
 

21st session in my Dragon of Icespire Peak campaign. I'm going to have to rename this campaign since the PCs defeated the dragon last session.

In this session, the PCs discovered a prisoner--our sixth player, another D&D noob, playing as a human warlock/genie patron/pact of the chain. We took time for introductions, discussion of character motivations, campaign goals, etc.

Meanwhile, a war party of orcs entered Icespire Keep to claim the Bloodspear, a magical weapon the PCs found in the dragon's hoard. The orcs were led by the half-orc vengeance paladin's brother...and there's plenty of bad blood there. The PCs ambushed the orcs, easily slaughtering them as they crossed a bridge. The other players held their actions so the paladin could land the killing blow on his brother--except for the elf hunter ranger, who decided to take a shot, and buried an arrow in the orc's skull. Big laughs at the table.

Next session, the players plan a final showdown (or parley) with the paladin's father--an orc war chief who has led his followers to Phandalin in search of the Bloodspear.

This is an interesting phase in the lifespan of this campaign. I'd assumed the campaign would wrap up when the adventure was over, but the players want to keep going. One is considering retiring his character and bringing in someone new. I'm now in the process of trying to build adventures that better reflect the preferences and approaches of the players. We'll see where it goes. That said, I enjoyed and recommend the Essentials Kit and Dragon of Icespire Peak.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Last night's session was... a bit ignoble.

A team of 1st level adventurers is returning from an expedition to a tomb. On the way through the woods, we encounters bears. Normal bears. Not, like, aberration or undead bears or anything. Just bears.

We try to sneak past, but in a group of 7 characters, you just know someone's going to roll a 2 on their stealth check, and the bears will notice you. And then, because some adventurers don't know the meaning of "restraint", a fight is gonna start, and the bears, who were minding their own business until we started pounding on them, end up dead.

It topped us up to level 2, but... there was no glory in it.
 

Reynard

Legend
I had an extremely unsatisfying play experience last night. This was with my regular IRL group gone Fantasy grounds-- we have been playing together for over 10 years and we trade DMing every once in a while. The current DM is new to DMing on Fantasy grounds and not necessarily always as prepared as he could be. We are playing through the Beginner Box adventures.

My character is a treasure hunter -- a dwarf ranger focused on going in holes and pulling out loot. He seems to be completely ineffectual based largely on my dice rolling, and while he has a lot of hit points he has a low AC and makes for a good target. About a half hour into the session I got dropped and ended up in spectator mode for most of the next hour and a half as the party fought a desperate battle against a bunch of were-rats.

Now, the unsatisfying part wasn't getting dropped. that was frustrating, but it was just the result of the dice and the way the tactical situation emerged (we split the party a little too much). But as the battle progressed, no other players made it a priority to help me back to my feet, and in fact the wizard made it impossible with a web spell he could have placed in a way that still got the bad guys and kept me out of it. Another player was really disengaged which means he just made his attack rolls on his turns rather than taking useful actions in a pretty dangerous scenario. And on top of it, after the DM dropped me he suddenly went "kid gloves" so it was obvious that it should have been a TPK but wasn't because he started making really suboptimal tactical choices for the bad guys.

I'm just venting. I was both bored and frustrated and engaging in some internal "I would have done it this way if I were running it!" The more I am a player in 5E the less I like the way the math gives the dice so much power over the outcomes, especially for characters that rely on a single attack roll. Between Colossus Slayer and Hunter's MArk my hunter should be almost as dangerous as the rogue and failing it hit over and over again is frustrating.
 

Due to a recovering sick kid, it was a short session. My players finally investigated the caravan enough to learn everybody's names, though. Also, our half-orc acquaintance came up with a plan to raid one of the wagons that may or may not be a cultist wagon, so I need to prep some decent loot, just in case he gets some good rolls.
 

Newbies realizing that literally everything is possible in D&D. As they descended into the Underdark on a mercenary mission, the amazement in the players' eyes as they realized that how their own choices had lead to this. Awesome.

Party literally killed a plot hook that I had prepared. Then misinterpreted another plot hook, turning a good guy NPC into a bad guy. But we laughed a lot.

No clue what will happen next session. As it should be. (y)
In the background, some big events are moving in the world, so as a DM I will be prepared, I hope.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I'm going to sum up my last session in a picture and hopefully a lot less than a thousand words.
Liontree sphynx to the winter realm.jpg

So in my Masks of the Imperium game, the party is attempting a speed run across the Feywild to get back to the material plane because they found out that their liege, the Child-Empress Olixia, has had her uncle installed as a regent over her due to corruption in the Council of Nobles.

They've gone through various illusions and not-like-the-material planes part in the Gloaming Court (a/k/a Dreaming Court). They recently had been told where someone who could unlock a portal to the Winter Court, and their Eladrin knew how to get home from there. Unfortunately it involved waking up someone who had been cursed to slumber for a thousand years for rudeness. Which they had accomplished last session, but unfortunately an alarm had been sounded and the end of last session was them regrouping and hearing the horns of a Wild Hunt after them racing through the sky.

They use some of their last spell slots for Pass without Trace, and the druid wildshapes into a giant elk which is ... not quite stealthy at Huge size. But kept rolling in the high 20s.

They vacated the area at speed, searching for a flower neeeded to open the portal according to their guide, a charming dandy of an Eladrin named Jelaween, as a male tribute to the Dolly Parton song Jolene. (Though he'd go after their husband or wife. The paladin turned him down with "too male" and got called provincial.) [Side note - we have multiple married couples in the groups and the RL wife of the paladin's player was laughing her head off and encouraging this. Normally we don't end up in the ribald.]

The flowers weren't there, the druid established that the river had shifted in the 80-someodd years he'd actually been asleep and it was too wet. Most of the party took off again on giant elk-back, while the ranger - who could move full speed stealthily because were in their favored terrain - went hunting for the flower. She found some, negotiated with a dryad for them, and caught back up. In the meantime the party had attracted some attention of flyers who were above but hadn't located anyone - but were close.

The party went on, came across a bridge across a small chasm and river guarded by four archers and a few tiny faeries. The bard is an Eladrin of some fame, and the alarm was for "outsiders". So the paladin lent his armor to the dandy to hide his face, and half the group riding the giant elk druid tried to bluff their way across. This lead to a performance, during which the rest of the party snuck down below - which was patrolled by water weirds. Long story short, the Order of the Paladin watcher managed to turn all three, and do so stealthily enough not to be heard over the impromptu concert above, and make it across.

They continued, and had their first bad luck with stealth. The giant elk druid rolled a 1. "Good thing I'm a halfling". Reroll. Another 1. Oh no.

They book it out of there, the ranger casting longstrider for 70ft of Giant Elk movement. They had alerted those in the sky, but the Yeth Hounds only had a fly speed of 40' and were left behind to go get their masters.

After a chase/stealth skill challenge was resolved, at the edge of the verdant forest they found what they called The Lion Tree, who wanted their names to know whom it talked to and then gave them a riddle. The party was able to figure it out, and so didn't have to fight the sphynx to get into the winter realm.

Technically note - this group uses Zoom for audio/visual, and google draw for images and maps with all the players having edit access so they can move their image tokens. We just trust each other's rolls. I went to paste the riddle in a text box after reading it in a suitable tree lion vioce, and one of my players showed me he could do a voice bubble. So that's where the picture came from.

Tree gathered in all the light, split into an aurora, and opened a portal to the realms of the winter court. I had pictures for all - I picture the Feywild as very saturated, very vibrant. So I made sure form a DMign perspective that I had tons of gorgeous pictures for everything they saw.

In the winter realm they met a noble with an entourage, alerted by the Verdant Prince who they can rescued the slumberer from. She say to call her Gilli of the Frost, and allowed that she was known in the mortal realm as Frosty Jill. She was a lover of Jelaween whom he had broken a promise of "I'll be back soon". Various RP went on, but they left him to his fate (though that wasn't a popular decision among everyone), and left. They had a long discussion about which portal to take back - there were three possible with various degress of distance fromt he capital and obviousness that someone was coming through. They settled ont he one three days upriver from the capital, but at a very public location. They went through, three in disguise and two hidden by invisibility, only to have they days of effort in the Feywild that they did not feel int eh timelessness hit them all at once.

We left with them near the capital, with two levels of exhaustion each, and being approached. We'll find out more next week as they figure out how to rescue the Child-Empress, and what to do after that.
 

120th session. Just a few sessions away from the end of this campaign. 5 player characters. 20th level with 6 epic boons each.

Tiamat has escaped Hell and is rampaging across the heaven of Celestia. She's slain Bahamut and absorbed his divine portfolio. Aiding her is Glasya, archdevil of the 6th layer of Hell, and mother to the PC tiefling shadow sorcerer.

In this session, Glasya is holed up in Bahamut's Palace. The PCs have to get through her to reach Tiamat. The palace is full of devils who watch silently as the PCs approach the Throne of Bahamut. Glasya lounges atop the throne, a goblet of wine in one hand and the head of Ilmater in the other. Ilmater is the god of the PC vengeance paladin.

Glasya tells the PCs that she wants their help in betraying Tiamat. Glasya intends to slay the dragon goddess with the mythical Sword of Io, become a god herself, and rule Celestia. If the PCs help, they will be rewarded. If they do not help, she has a unique way to make each of them pay. The PCs had been previously tricked by Glasya and so they're in no mood for deals. The fight was on.

However, Glasya owned the soul of the PC whispers bard. She turned him against the other PCs. I was really excited to have the bard do a beatdown on the party using his signature move of transforming into a CR18 Walking Statue of Waterdeep...but the lore bard won initiative and swiftly eliminated the whispers bard with Feeblemind. Dang. Fortunately there were four CR20 pit fiends. Absolutely brutal with their four attacks, ongoing poison damage, and 300hp. The pit fiends came close several times to dropping a PC but somehow never quite got there. By the end of the session the PCs had turned the tide and were on the offensive.

I'm mulling over what comes next. I think Glasya can see that she's not going to win this fight and is likely to make her escape while looking for an opportunity to take advantage of PCs vs Tiamat.

Next session: More fighting with devils!
 

jasper

Rotten DM
Bob one of my autistic has talked a lot junk about the Hero's Feast book. He talked himself into doing the trout Recipe but a strange thing happen. Some of the other players stepped up to buy the fish. I collected him early and took pictures of him making the flour breading and other parts. Pics so people knew he did most of it. I did end up doing the frying because of his balance issues.
And it was his birthday. We blew him off during the week. Because various players step up and started planning his party.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Sort of rebuilt OCs and started a new campaign at level 7. Old PCs were 7 wasn't working so changed the theme.

Return to the City of the Spider Queen.

Drow Campaign, Szith Morcane.

2 clerics of Elistraee (twilight, light)
1 Paladin of Elistraee (redemption)
1 Githyanki Psi Warrior.

Kobold illusionist afk this week.

No combat session mostly social and social/exploration exploring Szith Morcane.

Interacted with numerous NPCs, saw Lolthites cast magic to feed the population. Found Vhaeruns symbol hiding in a fresco, and a description of a vampire cleric of Kiransalee. Found a Drow male child one of her victims and a goblin skull with a smashed skull consistent with a Mind Flayer.

Githyanki met a Mind Flayer in the bazaar who tried to provoke him into a fight. Then invited him to dinner.
Interacted with a Drow merchant who dropped some heavy hints about Assassinating a priestess of Lolth. He is a priest of Vhaerun.

Finally they arranged a meeting with Solom Ned'razak who learnt of Dorinas return. He has a task for then to deal with her and suggested reclaiming Maerimydra.

Next week have a cleric of Lolth burst in and demand some stuff basically giving the PCs a grand tour if the important NPCs.

Also tied what happened in CotSQ to my wife's first PC all the way back in 2003 as she was the one who struck done Irae T'sarren but I don't think she remembers any details beyond what her PC was (3.0 duelist).

She's the last remnant of that group.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
Tuesday nigh session was interesting. And I had some forewarning. One player wants to step up and dm. With us as monsters. We will be switching between my campaign and his. And if the players like his better, I willing to totally give up the chair on Tuesday.
My co-DM step up. Running the final fights and rooms in Chapter 1 of Baldur's gate. He wanted to add a CR 4 demon. I just told him drop the hp to half. Poor demon was defeated by ball bearings for five rounds. So could not get into melee range.
 

22nd session in my ongoing campaign that started with Dragon of Icespire Peak. Six PCs at 5th level. Only four players showed up tonight, but that was enough for a quorum.

Previously, the PCs defeated the dragon of Icespire Peak, claimed the magical Dragonspear from its hoard, and killed the orc warparty that tried to seize the Dragonspear.

In this session, they traveled to Axeholm, the lair of the orc warchief. The warchief is the father of the PC half-orc vengeance paladin. Both of his fullbooded sons have been slain by the paladin. The warchief holds a fragment of a magical artifact that the PCs are trying to reassemble, although they're not quite sure what it does.

Using magic, they disguised themselves as the orc warparty and bluffed their way inside Axeholm. They claimed to have taken the paladin prisoner and obtained the other three pieces of the mysterious artifact. They asked the warchief to give them the fourth and final piece. But the warchief only had eyes for the Dragonspear. He wanted it; they gave it to him. He turned and handed the spear to his wife, who transformed into a hawk and flew away with it.

She is taking the spear to a place called Xul-Jarak, where a mighty orc warrior named Thrull will use it to summon legions of orcs to ravage the North. The PCs don't know that yet...but they're starting to get a funny feeling. This is set up for Sons of Gruumsh, a nifty little Chris Perkins adventure from 3E.

Meanwhile, the warchief had seen through their ruse. He gave them the fourth piece of the artifact and said they would next meet as enemies on the battlefield. They should go now with their lives. Which they did.

However, the half-orc had some words with his father. He learned that his treacherous half-brother was the warchief's captive and has become a wretched creature like Reek from Game of Thrones. He also learned that the murder of his adoptive parents could be linked to something called "The Dark Hand" in Neverwinter. Finally, he learned that the warchief's wife wants revenge for the death of her two sons at the paladin's hand.

Assembling the artifact, the PCs sense it pulling them toward the ruins of Castle Phandalin...

The party returned to Phandalin to claim their reward for slaying the dragon of Icespire Peak. They found the town in the midst of a huge party. In the center of the town square was the head of the dragon. And a party of adventurers. Who were in the process of claiming the reward that rightfully belonged to the PCs. And telling false stories of their heroic exploits! Without hesitation, the paladin drew his blade and attacked...

Next session: Roll for initiative!
 

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