D&D General How Was Your Last Session?

Had to skip a week due to a (non-playing) friend getting married, but last week went quite well. The players located a library appearing to have relevant information related to the strange temple-like building they had already found, and managed to get a superlative success in scouring it for information. They have, in effect, the entire "restricted section" of books from a (perhaps the) royal library of a lost genie city.

Now they just have to figure out how to leverage some elemental aspecting to see if they can enter the aforementioned temple-like building and do the thing....whatever "the thing" actually ends up being. But getting what they're looking for in the northern section of the caldera-city may prove more difficult than they expect!

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7th session of Monte Cook's 3E Banewarrens campaign run with Shadow of the Demon Lord on Owlbear Rodeo.

Five player characters at Level 2:
  • Dwarf Warrior. Heir to a lost kingdom -- in this case, Dwarvenhearth, deep beneath Ptolus. His trinket is half of a treasure map.
  • Elf Magician. Outcast from elven lands, raised in Ptolus, keeper of a dark secret. His magical traditions are Arcana, Teleportation, and Chaos.
  • Goblin Magician. Responsible for the destruction of his tribe. Specialized in the Fire and Forbidden magic traditions.
  • Changeling Magician. An awesome background: Outcast by her "adopted family" and looking for her "sister"--the child she replaced. Her magical themes are light and darkness, using the Celestial and Shadow traditions.
  • Human Priest. Cleric of Lothian, the core god of Ptolus. His magical traditions are Life, Theurgy, and Battle. His wife was murdered by undead and now he seeks answers.
The characters decided to return to the Broken Seal area, the entry point to the Banewarrens. They explored all the remaining areas. There were several sets of magically sealed doors they could not open. They also found a few doors that had been opened by the Pactlords and the rooms within were empty. One of those rooms obviously held the wight they encountered in the very first session.

The night's big encounter was fighting a horrifying ooze composed of a puddle of faces (yuck!) which nearly engulfed and devoured the dwarf before the party destroyed it.

The session ended with them hearing the menacing sound of a swarm of rats approaching from the entrance...

Next session: Ratlings!
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Rotten DM
No action just role play and skill checks. But I had fun coming up with either different accents or characteristics on the fly. Who knew evil toadstools are Scottish.


Moderator Emeritus
After a slow start because despite having four weeks to update their characters after recently hitting 4th level, there were some logistics and spell choices to go through, which ate up the first 40 or so minutes of a 3-hour session. That complaint aside, the session went well. Asked to hunt and kill the crocodile Thousand Teeth by Queen O'thok-ent of the Dunwatet Lizardfolk in order to sever the hold the ultra-orthadox high priest has on some of the tribe, the PCS found themselves ambushed by that priest and his loyalists. The battle then attracted the inconvenient attention of Thousand Teeth itself.

We left off, with one PC entangled, two flanking a lizardfolk scaleshield (a lieutenant) and the party paladin in the maw of the beast. . . Unfortunately, we won't be able to take this back up until late January.



Last session was the third in a game I’m running for a group of new players. It was a combat heavy session as the party had to defend a magical pool against waves of undead. But there’s also been a lot of plot set up for further down the track.
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Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Last session was a Session 0 - for a game that's been going on for a year and a half.

Two of my players are a married couple that are moving out of state and leaving the game, and with the holidays and some unforeseen circumstances they were going to miss at least one game so the ended up pulling out earlier than expected. We found two replacement players and had a session 0 to bring the up to speed with the world, the plot, and the existing character, talk about characters they are bringing in, and all that.

Yes, we lost a session, but for a long campaign where we're replacing 40% of our players in one fell swoop, I'd rather take the time and align expectations and make sure it's a good fit for everyone.


In tonight's game we were tasked with helping the Azure Glade take down the last remnants of the Seekers of Eternity who have been holed up in various locations. It was an "everybody gets teleported to their designated target areas all at dawn" blitzkrieg attack, so the five PCs were each separated from each other, fighting their own foes in individual combats all taking place at the same time.

The human sorceress ended up fighting an evoker and a fighter/wizard.

The dwarven fighter/psychic warrior was up against a diviner and a summoned Huge fire elemental.

The dwarven barbarian had to fight off four stone golems, then face a warforged in the next room containing the life-essence of a transmuter.

The gnomish cleric ended up against four dire wraiths, and then a lich in the room beyond.

My PC, the lizardfolk/barbarian/fighter had the easiest time of it, since I was up against an enchanter and his two servants, a female human rogue and a female human fighter. But since the sorceress had placed a magic circle against evil spell on me before we were all teleported in (besides a bunch of other buffs we heaped onto ourselves immediately before combat), when the two humans rushed me their enchantments wore off and suddenly they were all about helping me kill off the enchanter who had been dominating them against their will. So I ended up being the only one who gained "helpers" in his assigned task.

The sorceress killed her two foes off pretty early, then teleported over to the dwarven fighter/psychic warrior, helped kill his diviner foe, then she teleported them both over to help the other dwarf, then all of them teleported over to take out the remaining dire wraiths and take on the lich...all without me, since they knew I wasn't in any danger. (We had a Rary's telepathic bond spell active and the sorceress didn't want to waste two rounds to go teleport to me and then teleport us back to fight the undead. I can't blame her, either: she's our powerhouse on the team.) So I hung around with the two women, offering to share some of my dried dung beetles (it turns out neither of them was hungry) and getting snookered by them out of a bunch of coins as they taught me some gambling games ("Guess what number I'm thinking of." "Three." "Nope, pay up.") while we waited to get teleported back out of the room we were in.



Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Today was the first session with the two new players joining my ongoing campaign at level 8 after a Session 0 last week. One of them had had a fairly large life emergency and wasn't prepared, but real life comes first. Other than that it went fairly well. A quick but satisfying exit fo the two other characters and entrance of one of the new players, and the other one had a couple of minutes to pull things together. The timing wasn't perfect for bringing in new players - the break at the end of last session was ambushing members of a druid circle trying to tear down civilization and killing one while the other two escaped back to where they had captured elves they had implanted with a root heart to control them, so this session was wrap up and a big set-piece battle without a huge amount of context for the new players. But it still seemed to go fairly well.

One of the highlights was when the new rogue, just woken from being captured and having grabbed a weapon, made an attack vs. one of the druids who was out of line of sight of everyone else, no sneak attack or anything. I figured it wasn't going to be a big deal, and it wasn't a lot of damage - but the druid failed his Concentration check and the water elemental attacking the party went away.

33rd session of my Neverwinter campaign. Three 6th level characters: half-orc vengeance paladin, human genie warlock, drow evoker wizard. The paladin hit 7th level during the session.

Previously, the characters were robbing the estate of a nefarious noble named Lady Avaryx during a high society party. They warlock was disguised as Avaryx herself, but that disguise unraveled when she found herself in the same room as the real Avaryx. The warlock was magically charmed by the noble. The wizard saved against the charm, but felt powerless to intervene. The paladin was in disguise and could only do so much without blowing his cover -- although he suspected Avaryx was on to him.

Avaryx took the warlock aside and asked her a series of questions:
  • Who are you?
  • What do you really look like?
  • What is your friend’s name?
  • Do you have any other friends here?
  • What do you want?
  • Where do you live?
  • Who is your family?
  • Who in your family do you love the most?
  • Who are you most afraid of losing?
  • Do you have anything that belongs to me?
  • May I hold it for you so that nothing happens to it while you’re at the party?
  • What do you most value?
  • What are you most afraid of?
The warlock's player did a great job of roleplaying this scene and giving up a lot of really precious information that compromised her position.

After all the questions were answered to her satisfaction, Avaryx told the wizard that the conversation had been magically recorded. If the characters moved against her or her allies, she would expose them to the city watch and they would become Neverwinter's most wanted. Then she sent them home.

When the charm ended, the warlock's player shouted: "Now I have a nemesis!"

It was great.

The players immediately started scheming on how to steal the magical recording from Avaryx and give her a deserved comeuppance.

Eventually, their plotting led them to a private club known as the Sunrise Club, a sort of neutral ground in the city where favors are traded and no violence is permitted. The warlock met a contact in the local thieves' guild and picked up a quest to destroy a rival guild of rogue drow. The wizard went looking for other wizards to consort with. And the paladin spotted an old rival.

Next session: The skullduggery continues!

8th session of Monte Cook's 3E Banewarrens campaign run with Shadow of the Demon Lord on Owlbear Rodeo.

Five player characters at Level 2:
  • Dwarf Warrior. Heir to a lost kingdom -- in this case, Dwarvenhearth, deep beneath Ptolus. His trinket is half of a treasure map.
  • Elf Magician. Outcast from elven lands, raised in Ptolus, keeper of a dark secret. His magical traditions are Arcana, Teleportation, and Chaos.
  • Goblin Magician. Responsible for the destruction of his tribe. Specialized in the Fire and Forbidden magic traditions.
  • Changeling Magician. An awesome background: Outcast by her "adopted family" and looking for her "sister"--the child she replaced. Her magical themes are light and darkness, using the Celestial and Shadow traditions.
  • Human Priest. Cleric of Lothian, the core god of Ptolus. His magical traditions are Life, Theurgy, and Battle. His wife was murdered by undead and now he seeks answers.
We had a short session. It started with the characters in the Broken Seal area of the Banewarrens, which they had finally finished exploring. They were blocked from further exploration by a magically warded door that prevented them from going deeper into the dungeon.

The Broken Seal is accessed through the city sewers, which are rife with ratlings -- humanoid rat creatures with a penchant for trash and flesh. Six ratlings and several rat swarms now entered the Seal. Leading them was an albino ratling sorcerer. The rat swarms were like piranhas, devouring the corpses of all the monstrosities that the characters had defeated in their exploration. When the ratlings spotted the characters, the sorcerer threatened to take them back to the nest and feed them to his queen.

The characters decided they would rather flee than fight. The goblin cast tongue rip, a spell that takes over the mouth of another creature. He commanded the ratlings to stand back and let the characters pass. Then he and the other players just kept rolling, making the sorcerer say a bunch of NSFW stuff that had me laughing so hard I was crying.

Upon return to the surface, the characters began investigating ways to get through the sealed door. Their investigations led them to an abandoned temple of a long forgotten god of good. There they found scrolls explaining how the doors and keys of the Banewarrens were created. Jevvica Norr, their wizard contact, told them a mysterious and ancient key was said to be in possession of House Vladaam, the most powerful and sinister noble family in Ptolus.

Next session: Vladaam?


In today's "Dreams of Erthe" session the PCs came to the aid of another dreamer but this time it was an awakened black bear and in the process of freeing him from his dreams, the bear's ranger associate went off with his other animals to go help a pair of travelers who had been taken by "winged lions." In tracking down the ranger (he left a note), they encountered a tigress the bear identified as part of their group and she warned them they had fallen prey to an ambush and the ranger had been taken away, unconscious or possibly dead. So they ended up fighting and slaying the manticores who were working with a brother-and-sister elven team of slavers (he was a ranger, she was a wizard), who had been capturing humans as they blame humans for having taken over the continent over the centuries with their rapid breeding and warlike ways. It was a fairly long fight, but in the end both elves were slain and the remaining human slaves (and the ranger allied with the awakened bear) rescued.



We stopped fighting Satanist necromancers and started fighting Danish Christians in fake medieval Iceland.

(well technically we argued with the Danish Christians, then agreed to ally against the necromancers, but it’ll eventually come to blows, or my PC’s name isn’t Pontius Pilateson, Roman Viking priest of YHWH)

Musing Mage

Pondering D&D stuff
1st ed Cormyr, Team 'good' consisting of a 5th level Dwarf Fighter, 3rd Level Human Ranger, 1st Level Human Druid, and 1/1 Gnome Fighter/Thief and an NPC Elf, are in a smal farming community investigating some strange creatures.

The Scenario is the 'Advanced Adventures' title 'Pod Caverns of the Sinister Shroom.'

Investigating the cavern in a previous session, the ranger was almost killed by an infant Shambling Mound. Re-entering the cave after a few days, they continue to explore and discover a chamber with many plant 'pods' that have been opened, their contents unknown. Finding three pods that aren't open, they are attacked when a pod man emerges and wounds the dwarf before they can dispatch it. Opening the other two they find unformed masses of vegetation and destroy them.

Further exploring, they use speak with animals to ask a giant rat about other denizens of the caves, and learn a giant mushroom/man stalks and hunts the caves. They are later attacked by three of the pod-people and learn that while one was dangerous, three can be a nightmare... the mindless pod men savagely beat the ranger into critical condition and the dwarf almost follows, but the group prevails. Reviving the downed rangers with a healing potion, they escort the weakened warrior out to convalesce for a week. With better information on the danger, the locals are able to petition the lords for additional guards while the adventurers heal up and prepare for their next incursion into the caves to better understand the mystery of these pod men and the giant ambulatory mushroom man.

I got the chance to play my 17th level arcana cleric last session. It's a new experience playing at such a high tier, I've never had access to spell's like 'wish' before (although being a Genasi, I'm playing it that I only grant wishes to others due to the Efreeti bloodline).

We had a player drop out recently, and another had an injury and couldn't make it to the session, so there was only two players.

Having received a note asking us to come to Candlekeep, we headed off, bringing my Shield Guardian along for an adventure (he mostly gets left back at our tavern as a bouncer). We were attacked by an adult Red Dragon on the road and although we made pretty short work of the beast it recharged it's breath weapon after the first use and the Guardian was destroyed in the battle.

I figured I'd try Divine Intervention to bring the shield guardian back to life, and for the first time it actually worked, Mystra answered the prayer. Which was cool, and in a way quite fitting as we originally found the shield guardian in an old abandoned temple of Mystra.

After that we got to Candlekeep and started one of the higher level adventures from Candlekeep Mysteries, which was fun.


The PCs are chasing down a guy who turned against their monster hunting association and nearly killed another group with his treachery. The trail has led them to the South Seas and eventually to a ruined city with a large Ziggurat. They discovered an entrance in the top temple and started exploring down into the pyramid. They are learning the temple was dedicated to an evil god that probably was a sub-cult of a certain longtime PC enemy - a Demon Lord who shall not be named, but his common moniker is Graz'zt.

I have run several campaigns in my homebrew world and Graz'zt has made some sort of appearance of sorts in all of them. The hatred the players have for him is visceral - and deeply satisfying for this old DM ;)


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Played in our 1920s Pulp Call of Cthulhu last night. We have gone from "I think there are unexplained things happening in this world" through slow exploration - but recently due to bad rolls we got sucked into elsewhere and have been trying to find our way home.

Last session we took the planar traveling zeppelin that we had liberated from some future Nazis and attempted to pilot back to our Earth and timeline. The zeppelin had been damaged already in a battle in the ether, and we quickly learned that we also were just about out of diesel.

We were able to decode some instrumentation and put it together with maps we found to go to what we believe is our Earth. We arrive in the middle of a fierce storm and even our thrill seeking fearless aviator can't keep the damaged zeppelin afloat. When we realize we are above the sea, we abandon the idea or avoiding any lights because it's likely the local future Nazi base and instead dock on a small island. But explorations show that it was hastily abandoned, with operational material gathered and burned. And signs of a shoot out at a set of docks - though only one side was shooting, the other was toppling gantries from pure strength.

We found a yacht but ti looks like it was started but no one got to it and it ran out of gas and the battery ran down. So we're trapped on this island and need to explore to try to find a way off, with something that killed all of the inhabitants potentially still lurking about.


Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I’m running the adventure I wrote for kids for my sister and her two kids (6 and 12), and my wife.

My niece (6) is playing a tabaxi fighter with a greatsword and a fluffy dress, modeled initially after Princess Peach. She’s a Princess of a small kingdom whose king and queen have been missing since she was a small kitten. Her name is Lizzie.

My nephew (12) is playing an elf barbarian with a greataxe. He’s from a warm/temperate coastal forest that turns to brackish swamp as it goes west. His name is Moglu.

My sister is playing a custom “Tree Grung” fighter with a sword and shield, loosely modeled after Glenn from Chrono Trigger. She may switch to a different class as she gets a feel for the game, the important thing being that she is a knight. She’s from the western coastal swamp adjacent to the elf’s home forest. We named him Sir Fernando.

My wife is playing a water genasi from the same swampland, who is a (eventually spirits) bard. Swamp witch vibes, with a very Stevie Nicks aesthetic. She is called Ondine.

The adventure starts in a cantina looking out over the coastal cliffs on the southeastern coast, in the port city of Firenz, in the province of La Sombra, which is the southernmost province of the Skjaldbakr Archipelago, often called The Turtle. The Turtle rests at a great crosswinds, where ships from across the known world come and rest on their journeys.

As such the islands of the Turtle, and especially its main island, and most especially its three great port cities, are awash with the folk of every part of the world, both visiting and living permanently.

So too, Maria’s Cantina, when it’s busy. At the start of our story the place is quite busy, so much so that four travelers find themselves at a table together, having never met one another, eating their spiced porridge with tropical fruit and drinking a local breakfast drink made of coffee, chocolate, spices, and nut milk. (I always describe the food and drink in a place in my games, as well as the local flora and fauna and topography)

They are offered a job, which involves swearing an oath of silence on the particulars of the job, especially should they choose not to continue employment. Their new employer leads them to the Mercado in the center of town, and I describe to them the revelry of the Festival of The Nine Moons which happens once a few decades, which is a mix of pre-christian wintertime holiday traditions and day of the dead traditions, with masks and painted faces and costumes, honoring of the dead, going round to the houses of the wealthy singing songs and being treated as honored guests if the wealthy host doesn't want trouble, and other stuff. Also, a lot of "bastards" are conceived during the festival as normal boundaries of class and culture are undone while everyone is masked.

In the Mercado, Diego (the employer) begins to explain the job, describing a vault under the city, as well as describing the political situation in La Sombra, and the Turtle as a whole, the two rival empires that have laid claim to parts of the archipelago and their very different natures, and how precarious the independence of La Sombra really is.

The job is to recover a legendary weapon known as The Silver Spear from a vault at the center of a great labyrinth. To do so, they need to aquire three keys, one of which is already in Diego's possession. As he shows them the key, a long silver feather, it is suddenly snatched from his hand by the beak of a enormous black swan! The mercado is awash in white geese that seem to be following the giant swan, and stealing whatever they can get their beaks on, taunting shoppers and sellers alike, chasing passersby, and generally sowing chaos. Initiative!

I've run this several times before, so this time I added a bit with the Black Swan where she is revealed to be an archfey. The swan and geese have always been polymorphed quicklings playing a prank, but this time they are lead by a powerful and ancient power. Ondine had thrown quite a few insults and taunts in the fight, and was also the first to realise what they were actually dealing with, which meant she was quite worried about how her insults would be taken. The Swan Queen ran on the air up to her face, her black hair making a shadowy cowl around their heads, removed her black wooden mask, whispered something for Ondine's ears alone, and kissed her, laughing and running to the top of a nearby wall in a blur. Then the quicklings revealed that they bore gifts for those who took the prank with grace, after fighting back, which meant the PCs and assorted unnamed NPCs. Each was given a golden apple that "when eaten will fill your belly, heal your hurts, and lift your spirits", with a silver acorn where a stem should be, that "when crushed in your hand will emit true daylight as a First Dawn. Lastly, they received a riddle that seems to hold clues to their mission. We ended there, and I announced that they gained a level.

Everyone had a great time. My neice was hilarious and figured things out very quickly. Her brother had watched a lot of dnd content before, so he had anidea of what to expect, as did my sister.

Each of them had really funny moments of characterization and responded "seriously" to the notion of being these characters in this world. Hopefully the next session won't be too far away!


Saturday's "Dreams of Erthe" session involved the 5 PCs heading into the stable heart of the Dreamlands to try to observe the dreams of the only two dreamers they haven't been able to save from their dream comas. To do so, their moogle dream guides gave them the appearances of moogles themselves, as they'd be traveling into "The Land of the Wild Moogles" (the name of the adventure). They encountered zoogs (mole-faced primates with a nasty bite), nightgaunts (faceless gargoyles) and eventually a mated pair of wild moogles who attacked them since by that time the PCs' moogle disguises had been negated by the sudden appearance of a figure long since believed to just be a myth: the Nightmare King. Then, after defeating the wild moogles, they encountered a hypnalis viper, whose fangs and venom had been altered such that its bite in the Dreamlands could affect those in the Mortal World. The Nightmare King had already destroyed the means of scrying upon others' dreams, but they now know the cause of the dream-plague that's been going across the continent. All they have to do now is figure out why the Nightmare King is doing this and how to stop him....


33rd session in my Dragon Heist/Deck of Many Things mashup. 7th level half-orc fighter, halfling rogue, and half-elf evoker wizard/grave cleric.

In the last session, all of the characters had been brought to 0 hit points by a CR13 dire troll who was an enforcer for the Xanathar's Guild. In this session, they woke up in the Xanathar's fish bowl. Of course, they didn't know that's where they were -- it took the entire session to realize that they had literally become fish food.

This is the premise behind a great little AL adventure called "Underworld Speculation" and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to weave it into this campaign organically.

The characters awoke in a dark cave. There was a pool of water with a submerged tunnel leading out. They were at half hit points but with the benefits of a long rest. All of their gear was gone. Forever.

(I'm actually going to have their gear show up again in an entirely different campaign with a different set of players -- different except for one guy, who'll immediately grok what happened when I do the reveal.)

In the cave was a glowing orb that communicated with them telepathically. It gave them a few ambiguous cues about where they were and what it is. This orb contains the soul of a wizard that ties into other parts of the plot. I'm likely to make it a permanent, powerful magic item. But for now it's kind of dopey and sounds like HAL 9000.

The wizard cast alter self and began to explore the network of submerged tunnels leading out of the cave. Eventually he emerged from the tunnels into what seemed like a tropical ocean. There was a castle with a portcullis, a kelp forest, and a whale-sized fish with the same colors as a goldfish circling ominously overhead.

Around this time, the wizard's player began to realize he was trapped inside a goldfish bowl and was only 1 inch high.

He swam over to the glass and cast thunderwave and magic missile. The glass cracked. The bowl shattered. The world titled and then tumbled.

The characters found themselves on the floor of a massive room. They trekked out of the wreckage of the fish bowl and began to explore. They found a second, much larger fish bowl. Odd. They saw a silvery mirror engraved with runes. And they discovered a treasure chest -- the rogue was small enough to climb through the keyhole.

I ended the session by show showing the players the cover of Xanathar's Guide to Everything, which depicts the beholder gazing into the fish bowl.

Next session: The Xanathar's Lair! I've been rereading this chapter from Dragon Heist and it's a wonderfully weird place filled with stuff I would not have come up with. Should be lots of fun!


Rotten DM
Unplanned pot luck. I cancelled it due not enough people voting yes on the survey. Dirty Santa with 16 prizes with one person sending 4 entries and having his coworkers pull for him. About 2.5 hours of the Tortle Package and then home to wife on the porch because she had her own Christmas party to go to but left her keys on the dining room table.

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