D&D General How Was Your Last Session?

South by Southwest

Incorrigible Daydreamer
I think I am (slowly) getting better at this. The improvisational skills required for GMing are considerable, but my current slope is at least upward. Streamlining combat is still very tricky. I see now why some DMs like having monsters be big bags of HP and AC: it keeps things simple once the weapons are out. I, in my questionable wisdom, have chosen a different path from that, though, so we'll see how the combat side shapes up.

What is clear to me now is that letting players riff off each other and cook up their own hare-brained ideas is huge and something the DM ought always to encourage. All our best stuff from tonight came from their minds, not mine.
 

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Richards

Legend
Tonight was our first time playing since the end of February - one of our players had surgery and was healing up for a couple of months. This was our 3.5 "Raiders of the Overreach" campaign, in which we're taking down the ten Writhing Gates that could otherwise bring about the end of the world.

Tonight we went after the 9th gate, which unfortunately was deep under the ocean. Fortunately, some allied merfolk diviners gave us assistance, not only in providing the location of the underwater Writhing Gate but also in lending each PC a pair of magical starfish that would temporarily merge with our bodies and protect us from pressure damage for being that far down on the seabed. (It turns out that's why you often see mermaids wearing starfish on their chests.) We found the Gate, but it was protected by an advanced kraken, who gave us quite the workout (we're 19th level), and when we finally killed him it turned out he had been magic jarred by the illithid living inside a crystal monolith near the Gate - so we destroyed it as well, preventing the mind flayer from being able to remanifest. (The little bugger tried taking over the body of our dwarven fighter - the only one of us not protected by protection from evil or magic circle against evil spells - before we killed the mind flayer, but the dwarf fortunately made his save.)

Now we have three adventures left in this campaign, in which we will:

1. Travel by ship to the island location of the 10th Gate;
2. Travel across the island (warped by chaos energy from the Far Realm) to find the 10th Gate; and
3. Destroy the 10th Gate and save the world in the process.

Apparently my lizardfolk PC just wanted to be held during this adventure, as I was first grappled by a Bigby's grasping hand spell cast by our sorceress after I succumbed to the kraken/illithid's charm monster spell, and then after having my mind freed I spent the rest of the fight grappled by one of the kraken's tentacles. But that just ensured that wherever it went, it took me along so I was never out of range and got to make a full attack against it every round.

Johnathan
 

38th session of my Neverwinter campaign. Three 7th level characters: half-orc vengeance paladin, human genie warlock, drow evoker wizard. Running a modified version of Hall of Harsh Reflections -- an adventure from the Age of Worms adventure path in Dungeon magazine -- which is part of ongoing, longterm plotline about a cabal of aberrations scheming to destroy Neverwinter.

The players haven't yet realized it, but while sleeping they were abducted by a mind flayer. They are now trapped in a dreamscape constructed by the mind flayer as it attempts to break their will and turn them into thralls. They believe they've somehow jumped into a future version of a post-apocalyptic Neverwinter.

In this session, the PCs battled deeper into the Sodden Hold warehouse, lair of the mind flayer's minions -- a guild of drow thieves called the Night's Kiss. They fought a submerged chuul, hacking through a wall to find safe haven from its pincers. They descended into the dungeons beneath the warehouse, caught the attention of a drow guard, and had a running battle with the drow. It culminated with multiple fireballs, an invisible drow mage, and the warlock incapacitating the paladin with a poorly placed hypnotic pattern. Good times!

Next session: The dreamers find their sleeping bodies!
 
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21st session of Monte Cook's 3E Banewarrens campaign run with Shadow of the Demon Lord on Owlbear Rodeo.

Five player characters at Level 4 -- hitting Level 5 at the end of this session:
  • Dwarf Fighter/Warrior. Heir to a lost kingdom. His trinket is half of a treasure map.
  • Elf Wizard/Magician. Outcast from elven lands, raised in Ptolus, keeper of a dark secret. His magical traditions are Arcana, Teleportation, Chaos, and Fey.
  • Goblin Oracle/Magician. Responsible for the destruction of his tribe. Specialized in the Fire and Forbidden magic traditions.
  • Changeling Spellbinder/Magician. Created by House Vladaam to replace a child they kidnapped and held in servitude. Naturally, she wants revenge. Celestial and Battle traditions.
  • Human Paladin/Priest. Cleric of Lothian, the primary god of Ptolus. His magical traditions are Life, Theurgy, and Battle. His wife was murdered by undead and now he seeks answers.
The dwarf was captured by mysterious forces last session. Somehow his consciousness has transferred into an automaton they found in the Banewarrens. So that player is now running a Construct Rogue/Artificer with the Technomancy tradition.

This session was one long fight. The player characters were attempting to exit the sewers into the abandoned manor that has been their entry point into exploring the Banewarrens. But House Vladaam was waiting in ambush. The players were in the sewers shooting up at a hole in the ceiling while the Vladaam guards were in the house shooting back at the hole in the floor. It was a massacre. The characters' area of effect spells wreaked havoc on the guards.

When all the guards around the hole were dead, the characters ascended through the hole into the manor. More guards were waiting for them. The artificer tossed his flamethrower down the hall. The goblin oracle used a fire spell to detonate the flamethrower. Instant fireball. The guards were obliterated and the house caught fire.

The characters tried to escape through the backdoor. But Vladaam's rival adventuring party was waiting in ambush for them. I used a modified version of the Doom Raiders from Dragon Heist. Unfortunately, I misjudged their power level. They were butchered by the PCs. Two of them were slain, one escaped, and one was captured.

From my side of the screen, the battle didn't feel very tense. I don't think that was true for the players. By the time it was over several of them were completely out of spells and down to single digit hit points.

We're now about halfway through the campaign.

Next session: Interrogation!
 
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Clint_L

Hero
I'm currently running a few campaigns, all of which I write myself. I sponsor the D&D club at the high school where I teach, and each term I run a 6-8 game campaign for new players. I have two groups running the same campaign in alternating weeks.

It's set in and around the small city of Feolinn on the Menagerie Coast (Mat Mercer's Explorer's Guide to Wildemount). The set-up is that the players arrive at the start of annual Wine Festival, hoping to find work and maybe a bit of a vacation. They immediately got mixed up in an ambush and were imprisoned beneath a ruined villa, so the first session was them figuring out how to bust out while rescuing the aged wizard who was the real target of the ambush. Clues indicated that the wizard was targeted as part of a general plot to disrupt the wine festival, along with a symbol they didn't recognize.

Session two was them agreeing to help uncover the plot and research the clue, which they discovered was the symbol of The Remnant, cultists of Vecna who were thought long-defeated. In return, the party was offered room and board at an inn run by the wizards old, retired adventuring buddies, and an uncommon magic item randomly drawn from a bag of holding. They explored the town a bit and got up to some hijinks at the casino and fair, but on the way home were attacked by beasts that had somehow gotten loose from the fairgrounds, eventually defeating the pair of giant scorpions.

Session three was them investigating how the scorpions were released and what happened to the missing guard from the fair ground menagerie, which led them to a ruined temple in the nearby forest where the guard's blood was being used in a ritual to communicate with Vecna. The lead cultist, clad in red, escaped after summoning a greater zombie, but the party were able to get some information from his subordinates and learned that the lead cultist was a political rival of Feolinn's leader, the Marquis. On their return to town they noticed growing signs of unrest.

Session four had them reporting what they had learned and then returning to their inn, where they discovered that their server's children had gone missing (their server was the wife of the town manager, the Marquis' assistant, in effect). Eventually they tracked the children to the sewers where they were being held for a sacrifice by more cultists who were planning to use them in another ritual and to create further unrest in the town. The cultists were controlling a Nycanoloth, way too powerful for the party to defeat directly, so they had to figure out how to release it so that it turned on the cultists. A clue indicated that the Red Cultist was after two powerful objects that might be able to channel Vecna's power. After rescuing the kids they encountered a protest against the Marquis' weak rulership.

Session five had Maya sending them, via teleportation Circle and ring of spell storing, to an ancient, abandoned dwarf city underneath the volcano Mt. Mentiri so the party could beat the Red Cultist to the first object. They had to endure increasing heat exhaustion to find the object at the deepest level of the city, on a bridge over a lava lake inhabited by the ancient phoenix Desirat. The Red Cultist arrived at the same time so they had to fight him, elementals that were attacking both sides, and lair effects from the imprisoned phoenix. This was designed to be extremely challenging and the party was barely able to escape with their lives, while the Red Cultist secured the artifact for himself (this was by design, to raise the stakes in the last two sessions). Both parties narrowly avoided several deaths (one flirted with a TPK but pulled it out).
 

Richards

Legend
So this afternoon we played our first 3.5 "Dreams of Erthe" campaign in over two months (we had a player recovering from surgery). Here's the short version:

The PCs, after fighting a Large monstrous scorpion in the desert, show up at the mud-baked home of three sisters and explain they're there to wake anyone trapped in their dreams. The sister who came out to greet them is amazed: How did they know their brother was trapped in his dreams? How can the PCs wake him? Is there anything the sisters can do to assist?

So the PCs are welcomed into the house, the brother's sleeping pallet is brought out into the main room where there's enough room for the PCs to perform their ritual (which involves the 5 PCs sitting in a circle around the dream victim, falling asleep, and entering the victim's dream to awaken him from inside the dream). However, while inside the dream they find they cannot interact with it, nor does the brother seem to be a part of the dream, which involves an orc raider being devoured over and over again by a giant worm. Puzzled, they decide to exit the dream by waking themselves up...and when they do so, the three good-looking male PCs have been carried off into bedrooms by the "desert princesses" (who are stripping them of their magic items). Combat ensues, during which the "trapped dreamer" sits up and attacks the half-orc cleric/paladin and the brother's pet serval deals quite a lot of damage to the dwarven priestess. It turns out the three sisters are all dune hags and their "brother" is actually the hagspawn son of one of them; all had been made to look human by a veil spell. They defeat the hag family, then find the true dreamer imprisoned in a hemispherical prison beside the house. They bind him, free him from the dream, and then send him down to the underground cavern where the hags got their water as a guinea pig (and sure enough, the orc is taken down by the shambling mound and volt guardians, so the PCs opt not to head down that way themselves).

Johnathan
 

22nd session of Monte Cook's 3E Banewarrens campaign run with Shadow of the Demon Lord on Owlbear Rodeo.

Five player characters at Level 5
  • Dwarf Fighter/Warrior. Heir to a lost kingdom. His trinket is half of a treasure map. However, after being kidnapped by mysterious forces, his consciousness has somehow transferred into a Clockwork Rogue/Artificer. The whereabouts of his body are unknown.
  • Elf Wizard/Magician. Outcast from elven lands, raised in Ptolus, keeper of a dark secret. His magical traditions are Arcana, Teleportation, Chaos, and Fey.
  • Goblin Oracle/Magician. Responsible for the destruction of his tribe. Specialized in the Fire and Forbidden magic traditions.
  • Changeling Spellbinder/Magician. Created by House Vladaam to replace a child they kidnapped and held in servitude. Naturally, she wants revenge. Celestial and Battle traditions.
  • Human Paladin/Priest. Cleric of Lothian, the primary god of Ptolus. His magical traditions are Life, Theurgy, and Battle. His wife was murdered by undead and now he seeks answers.
Interesting and exciting session. Player characters spent most of their time interrogating a captive -- an orc warrior employed by House Vladaam. He told them almost everything he knew:
  • House Vladaam did not capture the dwarf.
  • Nevanna Vladaam wants to unmake the changeling into a bundle of sticks and dirt to make an example of her.
  • Nevanna Vladaam has been able to scry on the party and learn their every move. He isn't sure how. The changeling correctly deduced it was the rapier stolen from Nevanna's bedroom.
  • House Vladaam has another team of mercenaries even meaner than the one the party just defeated, including an "evil Tinkerbell" called Glitterdeath.
  • House Vladaam's goal is find the Black Grail -- a corrupted artifact that enthralls anyone who drinks from it. With the Black Grail they can gain control of the nobility and rule Ptolus.
The party also laid to the rest the body of an angel they found in the Banewarrens. Everyone got a +1 to one ability score, plus the feather of an angel.

This session was basically a giant exposition dump. I find sessions like this to hugely important and helpful in a campaign. They crystallize the villain's goals and methods and make the stakes clear.

Next session: Into the tomb of Dalen!
 

jasper

Rotten DM
Saturday made the command decision to promote everyone to same level even if they could not make to a session. Also did an in character information dumps for over an hour and everyone was okay with it. Sunday did a full information dump to facebook page incase people forgot to take notes.
Sunday during a homebrew I cut loose with my Echo Knight (oops wrong kingdom) , killed a shark and got a special necklace with three prayer beads on it.
 

39th session of my Neverwinter campaign. Three characters: half-orc vengeance paladin, human genie warlock, drow evoker wizard. At the end of the session they all advanced to 8th level.

Running a modified version of Hall of Harsh Reflections -- an adventure from the Age of Worms adventure path in Dungeon magazine -- which is part of longterm plotline about a cabal of aberrations scheming to destroy Neverwinter. The players haven't yet realized it, but while sleeping they were abducted by a mind flayer. They are now trapped in a dreamscape constructed by the mind flayer as it attempts to break their will and turn them into thralls. They believe they've somehow jumped into a future version of a post-apocalyptic Neverwinter.

The mind flayer is allied with a group of rogue drow called the Night's Kiss. The wizard's sister leads them. When the session started, the characters entered the sister's chambers. She is aiding the aberrations in infiltrating the surface world in order to save her subterranean drow city. She offered her brother an alliance. He refused. The characters attacked. The highlight of the fight was the wizard polymorphing his sister into a sloth. Yeah. A sloth. Only in D&D! The sister's invisible ally hit the wizard twice with a lightning bolt but failed to break his concentration and took a pair of fireballs in return.

Moving on, the characters entered a maze and were ambushed by grimlocks. That was over fast.

The characters located the final chamber. There, they found the mind flayer leering over three unconscious captives. Who were the captives? The player characters! Only here did they finally realize they were trapped in the mind flayer's dream. If he defeated them in the dream, he would break their will, and they would awaken as his thralls.

The battle that followed was a nail biter. It was exactly what I wanted out of a fight with a mind flayer. It hit them with a confusion spell that neutralized the paladin and warlock for one round. It took a hit from the wizard, who only had a few lower level spells remaining. The paladin charged and smited the mind flayer to 2 hit points. But then the mind flayer hit all three characters with mind blast -- and all failed their saving throws. He wrapped his tentacles around the paladin's head. Then extracted his brain. That was the first time in decades of gaming I managed to kill a PC with mind flayer brain extraction. Epic! Moments later, the warlock shook off the effects of the mind blast and slew the mind flayer with her eldritch blast.

All three characters awoke from the dream -- alive!

Next session: Rude awakening!
 

Richards

Legend
Last night we played our penultimate session in my son's "Raiders of the Overreach" campaign. We have one last Writhing Gate to destroy - and it's on a mysterious island with a rift to the Far Realm which is "leaking" chaos energy, causing the life on the island (local or otherwise) to take weird forms.

So, shielded by magic circle against chaos spells, we landed on the island and quickly encountered a tent-village made up of the members of a previous expedition to the island. But these poor souls hadn't known until too late about the fleshwarping qualities of the chaos energy; as a result, the two mounted men who approached us had not only grown into the bodies of their mounts (as in horse and man were now one composite creature), but several body parts had migrated around and been swapped about: the human heads were on the horses' necks and vice versa; one horse had a human arm and hand in place of its right foreleg (which was now growing out of the human's right shoulder) and so on. We fought them and the advanced chaos beast that splorched out of a large tent, the merged remains of the rest of the expedition. The chaos beast we took down with ranged attacks (nobody wanted to get close to the thing!), while the horse/men we took down with melee weapons and the pounding fists of the two Huge earth elementals our sorceress summoned. (She actually had summoned three, but each had a 50% chance of being shunted to the Far Realm instead of the island and one didn't make it.) And both my lizardfolk and the gnome cleric got hit by wriggling crossbow bolts that turned into leeches once they hit us; after we'd taken down the main foes I had my lizardfolk pull out his leech and swallow it down, then the cleric tossed me his as well. That led to two Fortitude saves and sure enough one was a natural "1" - I'd have started mutating had the cleric not realized something was wrong and cast a heal spell on me. (But in my mind, meat is meat and there was no point in letting those delicious leeches go to waste, especially after they'd been "seasoned" with lizardfolk and gnome blood...the gnome didn't really like the looks I was giving him after I realized just how tasty gnome blood can be....)

The last encounter during the session until we made our way to the Writhing Gate was with a swarm of bees, each with human eyes. They coalesced into a giant bee (which we dubbed the "Bee-hemoth") with a breath weapon made up of individual bees which then split up into two separate swarms. We learned several things from that encounter:

1. A properly-placed maximized fireball can completely wipe out two separate swarms of bees with no problem.​
2. Even though it might look like a giant bee, a lizardfolk jumping onto its back at the end of a leaping charge attack is going to fall right "through" the individual bees making up its giant-bee body, since no matter how tightly you pack a bunch of bees they can't support the weight of a full-grown lizardfolk.​
3. A kindly DM will allow a charging dwarf fighter to flank a Bee-hemoth with a lizardfolk standing in the middle of its made-up-of-individual-bees body.​
4. Destruction might be a powerful cleric spell, but when you cast it against a Bee-hemoth the end result is...one dead bee out of the thousands making up its body. Live and learn.​

In any case, we killed it and made it to the Writhing Gate by following the gnome cleric's find the path spell. Next Wednesday we fight the guardian of that last Gate, likely a fleshwarped mind flayer of some sort, and if we can take it out and destroy the last Writhing Gate the crazed illithid Elder God whose 100 facial tentacles from its still-living, decapitated head made up the ten Writhing Gates, we'll have permanently severed its link to the Material Plane and saved the world from the destruction that would have been caused if it had forced its way back from the Far Realm, where it's growing a new body to try to do just that. Whew!

And then my son puts on his player hat for the next couple of years while the player of the gnome cleric tries DMing a campaign for the first time since AD&D 1st Edition was the latest version of the game.

Johnathan
 

23rd session of Monte Cook's 3E Banewarrens campaign run with Shadow of the Demon Lord on Owlbear Rodeo.

Five player characters at Level 5:
  • Dwarf Fighter/Warrior. Heir to a lost kingdom. His trinket is half of a treasure map. However, after being kidnapped by mysterious forces, his consciousness has somehow transferred into a Clockwork Rogue/Artificer. The whereabouts of his body are unknown.
  • Elf Wizard/Magician. Outcast from elven lands, raised in Ptolus, keeper of a dark secret. His magical traditions are Arcana, Teleportation, Chaos, and Fey.
  • Goblin Oracle/Magician. Responsible for the destruction of his tribe. Specialized in the Fire and Forbidden magic traditions.
  • Changeling Spellbinder/Rogue. Created by House Vladaam to replace a child they kidnapped and held in servitude. Naturally, she wants revenge. Two weapon fighter with the Battle tradition.
  • Human Paladin/Priest. Cleric of Lothian, the primary god of Ptolus. His magical traditions are Life, Theurgy, and Battle. His wife was murdered by undead and now he seeks answers.
This group hasn't played in a month so we spent a lot of time catching up. Actual play time was short.

The player characters entered the Sepulchre of Dalen, the founder of Ptolus who slew Ashkragal the Witch King a thousand years ago. (I'm mashing up the lore of Ptolus and Shadow of the Demon Lord, which fit together surprisingly well.) They were seeking a second piece of the staff of shards, wielded by the elf wizard. The sepulchre is located beneath a graveyard in Oldtown. The human paladin is the caretaker of the graveyard and the sepulchre.

In the previous session, the characters laid to rest the corpse of an angel they recovered from the Banewarrens. As a result, I decided that the characters encountered no resistance in the sepulchre. The protective spirits knew they were heroes, not looters. (Also, I was kind of tapped out of ideas for a dungeon protected by the forces of good.) Exploring, the characters discovered the sepulchre held the sarcophogi of the greatest heroes of Dalen's era -- his protectors in the afterlife. These were not holy warriors, but rather ordinary heroes from across the continent. Those who fought back against the evil of Ashkragal.

In the final chamber, the characters were welcomed by the ghost of Dalen. Surrounding him were the four companions that together destroyed Ashkragal. So -- five sarcophogi for five player characters. Dalen warned them that evil was once again rising in the Spire. The greatest evil they would face was not the Dread One but rather his corrupting influence. He would attempt to turn the characters against each other.

Dalen bid them to take the enchanted artifacts of his companions. The characters opened each sarcophogus and claimed the magic item within. (Here, I did something unusual. I had each item grant the abilities of a master path. For example, the magic cloak claimed by the changeling rogue gave the benefits of the Infiltrator path. The path system of Shadow of the Demon Lord is one of its greatest strengths, so I decided to lean into it.)

The characters exited the sepulchre and emerged into the graveyard above. Waiting for them was the barrow wight they encountered in their very first session. It's a guardian of the Banewarrens, hunting down anyone who takes an item from within. Well, the changeling rogue was in possession of a corrupted weapon looted from the Banewarrens. The wight told the changeling she would pay with her life and her soul. The wight was not alone -- three priests from a death cult the characters had previously tangled with invoked a dark ritual to raise the dead within the graveyard. The hands of the dead erupted from the earth.

And that's where we ended.

Next session: Night of the living dead!
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Too short, but fun.
The PCs acquired passage on the dwarven ship, The Soul of Winter in search of a recently re-emerged ship thought lost in order to salvage its contents (and find a special box with mysterious contents). The first part of the adventure was a skill challenge with the PCs helping the crew through a storm (I set up the different possible tasks during the beginning narration) with the consequence of failure not being death but a complication. But they succeeded.

We left off with the party getting jumped in the first cabin they explored on The Empress of the Waves!
 

Richards

Legend
We finished up my son's 3.5 "Raiders of the Overreach" campaign on Wednesday night. The five PCs are on the Unchartable Island, which has a rift to the Far Realm leaking chaos energy onto the island and corrupting the life there - as a result, we only dare exit our magic tents which protect us from these energies when we're covered by a magic circle against chaos spell, provided by our gnome cleric. (We're all 20th level, so using up 15 spell slots each day just to cover all five of us for 10 hours a day wasn't too much of a burden.)

On our second day on the island (we're following a series of the cleric's find the path spells to locate the very last of the Writhing Gates, the sole remaining tether to Uboros the Dying One - an illithid Elder God who was slain by Wee Jas but whose adherents' worship allowed him to survive as a disembodied head on the Far Realm, and whose body is slowly regrowing there), we camped down for the night and were each attacked by a mind flayer in our tent. It turns out the five mind flayers were not only the same one (Zarbugak, Master of Madness and Untamer of the Wilds, an ulitharid), but were all mental projections into our respective dreams, so when we met him for real he'd have a better idea of our combat capabilities and strategies.

The next day we made it to the final Writhing Gate and encountered not only Zarbugak but his two guardians, a Far Realm ursine and a Far Realm lupine, each of which was attuned to a random energy type each round (making them immune to that energy type and granting them an attack based on it). We took the guardian animals out fairly quickly and our sorceress cast an incendiary cloud over Zarbugak. That only managed to deal him 12 points of fire damage, but it was really a precursor to the real damage, because our dwarf barbarian had come to the island with three necklaces of fireballs. He'd used a couple of the beads earlier, but he tossed the rest of the three necklaces into the middle of the incendiary cloud...which detonated the remaining fireballs...we made the player count up the number of damage dice the combined lot of beads came out to and it was 183d6 points of fire damage. That managed to take care of Zarbugak, and then our gnome cleric sealed off the rift to the Far Realm, preventing Uboros from returning by the Writhing Gates (which would have destroyed the planet had he tried to do so). So we saved the planet and ended the campaign, retiring our PCs.

On 15 June we're scheduled to start up our next Wednesday night campaign, this time turning the DM hat over to the player of the gnome cleric and allowing my son and I to be on the same side of the DM screen for the first time in a full campaign.

Johnathan
 
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Our 5th level Human Champion Fighter died saving the party. He has been reincarnated. I just posted my blog recap. I hope he likes it.

I used this table for reincarnation: My Reincarnation Table

Here's a copy and paste of the blog post.
#24 Exit the Warrior


Balthazar, death of a meat-shield


The rest of the group continued to drop down the grease slide. Balthazar was taking on Kartoeba single handedly with Bistek flying above flinging Eldritch Blast. Djura, Flo'rel, Dirk, Cyd, and the rest were clustered about 50 feet away from the action. They were making slow movement through the disgusting slurry. That's when Kartoeba flexed and truly made his presence known with a terrifying scream. Its tentacles splayed out and its neck extended with the maw fully open, displaying a mouth and interior throat covered in dagger-like teeth. The scream reverberated off of the walls; the vibrations gripping the hearts of those foolish enough to take on this abomination in its own lair.


Cyd, feeling fearless in his magical armor, may have been the only one left mentally unscathed. For the rest, that scream will fuel their future nightmares. Within the context of the combat, it meant that Balthazar was left on his own having to wrestle with Kartoeba's tentacles and his own existential terror. Most of the group slogged around in the muck and tried not to go insane. They did what they could by flinging arrows and magic, but Balthazar did the bulk of the damage. He even managed to roll a critical hit while having disadvantage. Something I have never seen.


Alas, poor Balthazar. He met the fate with which all meat-shields must contend: The brutal death by an unimaginable monstrosity. At least he got to keep his soul.


After taking 150+ points of damage from the Fighter, Kartoeba wrapped a tentacle around Balthazar's legs and smashed his skull into the ground one, two, three times. Even with the slurry softening the blows, the force of several impacts left the fighter's brains scattered about. But the Traladaran, who started out life as a humble slave, only to be conscripted, who then fled the Black Baron in shame; died a hero that day. Kartoeba was severely weakened and quickly dispatched after that.


Treasure!


The secret portal was found after some searching and the group followed the corridor to a circular room with a 40 foot reinforced metal ladder. Using ropes and a lot of patience, the group hauled Balthazar's body and the tigers up the ladder. They opened the hatch and found themselves in what appeared to be the Hutaakans' secret treasure vault. An ebony, jewel encrusted throne dominated the room. Hinata recognized symbols on the throne as belonging to Rajas'el-Najar. He suppositioned that their prophet had this throne built to await his return. Everything else belonged to the Hutaakans. (I will list the magic items in another post)


A door was found that opened to a long, downward sloping hallway. After a long rest the group followed the passage for six hours (roughly 18 miles). Bright light could be seen at the end of the corridor. The Red Suns found themsleves in a small hidden valley. Having been under ground for over a day, the group was blinded and a little dizzy from all the bright sunshine. The group traveled at a slower pace and tried to take everything in when the Rakasta spotted the entrance to The Lost Shrine Of Rajas'el-Najar. The Rakastans fell prostrate and began chanting.


Balthazar 2.0


The Red Suns laid the remains of their fallen comrade and commenced with the 12 hour ritual. Balthazar's body began to glow with a white light from within. The light grew until his form could no longer be seBaron in shamen the moment of full radiance, the Fates rolled their dice and consulted their charts. As Balthazar's soul floated towards its supposed final destination, the Hands of the Fates yanked him from behind and thrusted him back into the world of the living.


"697!" The Fates declared "BWAHAHAHA!" And they all high-fived each other.


Balthazar awoke, looked around and wondered how everything got so tall. He also wanted breakfast. Actually eating two breakfastes suddenly seemed like a very sensible hobbit thing to do.
 

delericho

Legend
Last session wasn't great, but it was successful - it was the final session in a campaign that I needed to bring to a close. We'd left the previous session mid-combat as we'd run out of time, which is never ideal.

The combat resumed, ran for about two rounds, and then was done. And from that point on it was all wrap-up - that was the final combat encounter of the campaign, so from there there was a little negotiation, a tiny bit more exploration, and done.

It was all rather unfortunate - in the previous session I had thought we might have enough time for the whole combat, but got caught out, and this left a final session with not much to do, and a bit of an anti-climax.

All in all, not great. But, as I said, successful - the most important thing was to bring the campaign to an end, and that was achieved.
 


40th session of my Dragon Heist/Deck of Many Things mashup. 8th level half-orc cavalier fighter, halfling swashbuckler rogue, and half-elf evoker wizard/grave cleric.

The end of this campaign is in sight. I expect to wrap up at 50 sessions, give or take. Tonight was a transitional episode, as the players rested, re-equipped, and considered their options. I spent a lot of time connecting the threads, either in character as an NPC or just as DM, so the consequences and stakes were explicit as we head into the end game.

Next session: The wizard delves into the family crypts to claim his birthright!
 

LadyElect

Explorer
I joked about it in the scheduling thread, but I did start running Wild Beyond the Witchlight for a friend and our wives (neither of whom have played before) this past Monday. I decided to use the Adventurers League Lost Things prelude to ease them into the book proper. I had a feeling they would enjoy the play-as-kids conceit, and it seemed to work to get them invested in the hook despite the inevitable outcome aspect.

However, I am planning to start off the first “real” session with the Warlock plot hook as well, rolling them together. I wanted to use the idea that he calls on their PCs precisely because their experience in the prelude became known around town and therefore he thinks they’ll be more likely to accept his quest if they have their own goals to pursue along the way. I have considered skipping it, but I want to try to ensure they have a reason to engage with chapter 5 early on and I don’t anticipate they’ll question it too thoroughly.

And we’re certainly neither a Beadle nor a Grimm, but I mentioned some of the fun extras in their set to my wife and she has now decided to craft butterfly wings to dole out to everyone once they get into the carnival next session.

All in all, a success so far.
 

Richards

Legend
Wednesday night we started up a new 3.5 campaign, "Ghourmand Vale," where a coworker (and player in my Saturday campaign) is serving as DM. The four PCs (half-elf paladin of Pelor, elf archer, halfling rogue, and human sorcerer who doesn't realize he's casting spells) met up in an inn where they hired on as guards for a caravan due to cross from Greyhawk City to a boomtown in Ghourmand Vale (an area the DM created and plopped in Veluna, by the mountains). But in the meantime, we accepted a job by two of the people who'll be joining the caravan (a brother and sister) to retrieve the family's crest that was buried with their grandfather in a tomb three leagues out of the city.

Entering the tomb, we ran afoul of another brother-and-sister team, this one a pair a couple of drow/svirfneblin hybrids who are mostly pranksters, scaring those who enter the tomb and gathering up whatever they drop as they flee in terror. (They were somewhat miffed we refused to flee in terror.) We then fought three undead skeletons trying to dig through a solid stone wall. Eventually, we found what was on the other side of the wall: the grandfather was an undead zombie magically imprisoned in his tomb, and took him out before he could escape. Then, on our way out of the tomb, we were ambushed by a pair of thugs who had overheard the reward we were getting (200 gp) and decided to waylay us and earn the reward for themselves after we'd done all the work. That didn't work out as they'd planned, as we all basically readied actions and then slammed them all at once when they moved in for the kill.

Highlights for my PC: my naïve sorcerer mistaking the female halfling PC for a lost little girl; getting dropped to 1 hp by a skeleton and then realizing none of us had any source of healing at all; and getting back up to full strength after eating a sausage of cure light wounds in the grandmother's tomb next door. (It was radiating goodness and blocking off evil emanations, and my sorcerer hadn't eaten since morning, and he was so hungry....)

Lowlight: getting a phone call a half hour from the session's end and having to go deal with an emergency situation at work, leaving another player to run my PC for the duration. So we didn't get to play through me recognizing the irritating grackle hanging around the area is really my familiar. (We'll no doubt deal with that next week, as they wanted me to be there when that happened.)

Johnathan
 

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