D&D General How Was Your Last Session?

South by Southwest

Incorrigible Daydreamer
Well, I learned something: pre-drawn combat sheets save a lot of time. And they don't need to look pretty; they need to convey all the truly essential information legibly and in a format where everything is easy to find. Keep it all on one sheet if at all possible.
 

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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Session #40 of my Masks of the Imperium D&D 5e campaign. The party the previous session just had a massive ambush they set up to take down a big bad, only to find out that one of their party was missing from the ambush.

They managed to deal with the evil Duke Warlock who had made a pact and was housing an Oinoloth inside him, started investigating the missing character (written out because the player wasn't able to attend three sessions), and were whisked via a magical line-of-sight mirror gateway to: The Moon.

For those not following around at home, the world is the body of a murdered god, and the moon is literally her decapitated skull. Both big enough and now old enough that they aren't quite noticeable as such.

This session was the last he was gone. They ended up on much more of a railroad then I normally run on a mission to rescue their friend, just so I can ensure that he shows up at the right point. They discovered a minor High Elven House, fled hundred of years ago during the "subtle civil war". And a strange Oracular figure they had been finding out about. They were welcomed, fed, and given enough time for a short rest, at which point their host announced that The Oracle said that if the bell chimed that he would have desperate need of his companions. That Notum (the missing High Elf Rogue PC) was trying to capture a being with literal memories of some of his nigh-destroyed House that might know where survivors are, something called a Flayer of Minds.

So, having just had an all out battle verse a BBEG where they expended many resources and consumables, and a short test, they set out. Unknown to the party, Notum had been told by The Oracle that he might be followed by the party, and he carefully marked every trap in a way they would find. Still, between loud noises trying to solve the entry puzzle and the Eladrin Bard who couldn't keep her hands off a bookcase that was marked trapped, they still triggered a skeletal defender of the lair and alerted the master of the house.

So the 8th level party is freaking out having to go against a rogue Mind Flayer, something they have never encountered but the players are quite familiar with from previous editions. What they don't realize is that their information is centuries out of date. They aren't going against a Mind Flayer. They are going against an Alhoon, a mind flayer lich.

Heh.

And his pet.

Double heh.

Do you know you can infect a Beholder with a Mindflayer tadpole. You get something called a Mindwitness.

Now, the short rest game back wildshape to the Moon Druid, so that he's low on spells isn't as huge a deal. And when fighting the BBEG, the bard had been leading the crowd at the arena in the exorcism charts to purge the Oinoloth from the Duke's body, so she still has most of her spells left. And while the paladin is out of spell slots for smites, he does have a Mace of Disruption which will do quite nicely against the undead Alhoon. The Twilight Cleric got her Channel Divinities back and is buffing everyone, and the missing character is full up. Still, I expect that there will be more than a little fear of death as each successive bit of "oh no" is revealed.

So we ended the session mid-battle, and when we start next session we will have the missing player who's rogue has been lining up the "perfect shot" - he'll go at the top of round with a guaranteed crit. Dramatic entrance, and something different then having to be saved which is how he had been introduced into the campaign.

After this battle they'll level up. And then - adventures on the Moon.
 

Last night we started our 'final battle' for a campaign that's been running for over two years (started during the first lockdown)
It's based on Hoard of the Dragon Queen / Rise of Tiamat, (with stuff from a dozen or more other adventures thrown in along the way). We hadn't played for a few weeks as the DM needed extra time to prepare, (plus we've all been playing a lot of Elden Ring lately too).

What started with four players is now down to two, but we're running an NPC or two each as well for this last fight.
The two characters left are a 19th level Human fighter and my Fire Genasi (Arcana) Cleric.

I have no idea how close to the adventure our DM is sticking, but this final battle is with over 100 dragons, as well as Devils, Giants, cultists, red wizards, etc...

The player playing the fighter gave a rousing rev up speech before the battle. We only got through our planning and a couple of rounds as things kicked off. It was pretty epic, but there's a crazy amount of dice rolling. Hopefully we can finish it off next week.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
A bit of a rant about last session. We're playing in Theros, each of a devote of a god. At 4th level the DM gave my character Ephixis, the artifact bow of my god -- who sometimes gives it out to a champion. It's a +3 weapon with various trick arrow. Okay, cool. Then the forge cleric just got Akmon, the artifact weapon of her god. Okay, he's probably going to give us each our god's artifact weapons. Makes sense - we're doing a job for the gods to save the world, and the gods let champions wield them.

It's also +3 ... and adds 3d10 fire damage. About the same bonus damage as sneak attack from a 9th level rogue. But this is a 5th level cleric, who is also a full caster, with better armor then me, and all that.

It feels like the DM has a cool concept with giving each of us an artifact, and I don't want to complain since I got one first. But the other weapons of the gods also give out big bonus damage.

As a rogue really my only contribution to combat is damage. And I'm feeling like I will be just outclassed by the bonuses these do.
 

24th 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 session was one big battle in an urban graveyard against a necromantic cult raising the dead. There was also a barrow wight from the Banewarrens, a creature which had originally appeared in the very first session. The wight hunted those who had taken objects from the Banewarrens. In this instance, the changeling rogue had a corrupted blade. The fight was tough at times but ultimately the necromancers did not hit hard enough to pose a big threat. Characters in SotDL are swingy so I'm having a hard time finding out how to challenge them.
 

25th 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.
Several sessions ago the dwarf fighter was kidnapped in the Banewarrens and taken into Ptolus. The other characters don't know who kidnapped him. Fortunately, his consciousness transferred into an automaton and so some version of him is still with the party. In this session, the characters focused their efforts on trying to locate and rescue him.

What they don't know is that the dwarf was kidnapped by the Pactlords of the Quaan and is held at the tower of Jevvica Norr, a half-elf wizard who the players mistakenly believe to be an ally.

They rested at an inn called the Ghostly Minstrel. In the morning a ransom note awaited them at the front desk. It told them to be on a particular bridge at midnight.

With a day to kill, the characters did some investigating. They went looking for the elf wizard's mentor as well as Jevvica Norr. The mentor was missing, not seen in days. Stymied, they had to discover where Jevvica's tower was located. They went to the tower to see if she could help them locate the mentor, who is a friend of hers. They don't know (or even suspect) that she's a villain. The tower door was locked. No one answered a knock. The elf wizard summoned a sprite and sent it into the tower. It did not return. Clearly, something is afoot at the tower.

The tower is located in Emerald Hill, a verdant neighborhood favored by elves. The dwarf has been getting flashes of sensory input that include freshly cut grass, so he has some vague clues as to where his body might be held captive. Yet no one put two and two together.

In fact, the characters turned and walked away -- only fifty feet from the captive dwarf.

Returning to the Ghostly Minstrel, the characters received a second note. This was from an ally at the Longfingers thieves guild inviting them to a midnight rendezvous at the Onyx Spider. The goblin oracle decided to attend, as he's interested in the guild.

Wait, are you saying the players decided to split the party just before the ransom? Yup.

At midnight, the characters approached the bridge, which spanned an epic river gorge. Three cloaked figures held a hooded captive. The characters were pretty certain the captive was not the dwarf -- and they were right. It was a set up. The hooded figures wanted the Bane Key in return for the "captive".

A massive manticore swooped and landed among the party. The figures threw off their hoods -- and vanished. These creatures are invisible. The manticore had four attacks per turn. It was a wrecker. But the characters took it out in three rounds.

Meanwhile, we cut back to the Onyx Spider. There, the goblin spotted a woman dressed like the hooded figures on the bridge. What's the connection?

Next session: Invisible stalkers!
 
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Richards

Legend
In today's "Dreams of Erthe" campaign session the PCs awakened a lawful evil cleric from a dream in which he was playing chess with the personification of Death - and losing badly. Unfortunately, he and his wife (a lawful evil necromancer) had been hired by the local Duke to create undead dread warriors, and since only the cleric of the two was of a high-enough level to cast create undead spells, the necromancer wife had taken it upon herself to use planar ally scrolls to get some assistance from a white abishai, a black abishai, and a green abishai - all of which can cast the create undead spell - to keep their undead army conversion process on track and on time.

So, after the PCs rescued the cleric from his dreams they were going to leave quietly (they were even willing to ignore the 16 dread warriors already created, given the Duke is related to the King who rules over pretty much the whole continent), but the abishai had other plans. After all, they hadn't made any deals with the PCs, and one of the PCs was a suitable "volunteer" for undead conversion. What followed was a fight between the PCs and the abishais, with the evil cleric and necromancer as unwilling allies. When a well-placed magic circle against evil spell ruined the abishais' plans for mental domination of the PCs, they did the next best thing: they opened the sole door to the keep and let the 16 dread warriors in, with orders to kill the PCs.

The battle ended up being PCs + jade cooshee figurine of wondrous power + evil cleric + evil necromancer + summoned celestial bison vs. 3 abishais + 16 dread warriors + 5 summoned lemures, which was all one big battle half inside the keep and half outside in the walled-in courtyard. In the end, the PCs were successful, although the dread warriors are being kept busy pounding on the dead abishais to keep them from regenerating long enough for the evil cleric and necromancer to go round up some holy water (not surprisingly, they didn't have any on hand) which can slay them permanently. The PCs only killed three of the dread warriors, the rest having being turned to keep them out of the way but still "healthy" enough to serve as a reserve force for the Duke's armies. The PCs aren't really happy with this setup, but they don't want to make an enemy of the Duke.

And the evil cleric and the evil necromancer are having quite the marital spat along the lines of "What were you thinking?" vs. "What else was I supposed to do? The Duke was getting impatient and I couldn't wake you up!"

But this is the second time I included boneless as monsters for the PCs to fight and the second time they didn't get to use any of their abilities - heck, for this adventure I put in two boneless and the fighting never made it to the basement level where they perform guard duties. I'll have to stick them into another adventure at some point down the road.

Johnathan
 

40th session of my Neverwinter campaign. Three 8th level characters: half-orc vengeance paladin, human genie warlock, drow evoker wizard. We're playing online and sessions are about 2 hours long.

Previously, the characters had been trapped in a nightmare by a mind flayer. In this session they awoke from the nightmare to find themselves engulfed by a gibbering mouther. They fought their way free and destroyed the mouther. Now they needed to escape the lair.

As they explored, they found the mind flayer's minions unconscious. Apparently they were stunned by some sort of feedback psychic loop when the characters defeated the mind flayer in the dreamscape. Their enemies were helpless before them. They debated whether or not to murder them...but decided not to.

Most of the minions were rogue drow commanded by the wizard's sister. Finding her unconscious, they tied her up and took her captive. The wizard snagged her cloak of arachnida for himself. They also rescued a pair of prisoners.

Next session: Reward for a job well done...
 

Richards

Legend
In last night's "Ghourmand Vale" campaign session, we jumped ahead to day 8 of our 19-day journey from Greyhawk City to Ghourmand Vale, the first eight days having passed by relatively uneventfully. But upon waking up on day 9, we found out two of the wagons in our caravan train had had children abducted from them - a 7-year-old human and an "equivalent to a 7-year-old human" elf, apparently by kobolds, according to the tracks. The four PCs were sent to track down the kobolds and rescue the children if possible, while an elf NPC was sent riding to the nearest city to get help from their security forces to guard the caravan until our return.

We followed the tracks from just after dawn until nearly dusk, but they eventually led to a cave network, where we fought, in turn, two kobolds; four more kobolds in a larger cavern; three norkers; then found an abandoned kobold throne room which had a secret door leading down to a lower cavern that had a magical fountain and the two kidnapped children (who had been stashed in the throne room and found their way down to the lower cavern the kobolds apparently didn't even know about); and then two more kobolds guarding their eggs and newly-hatched kobold young. After clearing the whole place out of enemies (and finding indications that they had kept a pair of dire weasels as riding mounts, which weren't there), we determined it was too late to return back that day, so we camped out there overnight (the girls and the female halfling PC staying back down in the hidden fountain room while the other three took guard shifts upstairs). The next day we made it back to the caravan, only to find it had been attacked by a raiding party of kobolds (and their two dire weasel riding mounts) in our absence. The kids were reunited with their families, the grateful elves gave us each a weapon or piece of armor, and that night one dire weasel and three kobolds reanimated as zombies and attacked us. We fought them off and determined of all the corpses of those who had attacked the caravan the day before, those four had been the physically nearest to the brother and sister who had hired us in our first adventure to fetch a family crest from the tomb of their grandfather. They don't want to believe the crest is magical (although all indications are it's responsible for creating and attracting the undead), but we ended it there - next session, we'll take the matter to the caravan leader, a cleric of Saint Cuthbert who was badly wounded in the kobold attack (while we were off rescuing the kids).

My sorcerer PC (who still hasn't figured out he's a sorcerer), did get empathic contact from his grackle familiar, but he didn't recognize it as having been contact from a familiar; he thinks it's his dead servant warning him of danger, in the same way he's convinced his unconscious casting of the unseen servant spell is his old servant's ghostly spirit looking out for him. (I had the unseen servant - whom I call "Ogilvy" - carrying a lamp around to provide us light in the kobold caverns, and some time after we had cleared the place out the spell's duration ran out, causing the lamp to fall to the floor. My PC was actually relieved at this, assuming it was Ogilvy deciding he was no longer needed because there was no longer any danger about.) That's the kind of assumption you make when Wisdom was your dump stat....

Johnathan
 

Reynard

Legend
Look, playing 5E over Fantasy Grounds can already slow the game down some. So, please, PLEASE, learn what your character can do and pay attention during other folks' turns so when you come up you can do the thing and we can keep the pace and excitement up. PLEASE.

We spent 2 hours on one encounter last night with 5 PCs versus 2 chuuls, even with two of those PCs literally averaging 30 seconds per turn (we timed it). It was excruciating.
 

26th 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.
Several sessions ago the dwarf fighter was kidnapped in the Banewarrens and taken into Ptolus. The other characters don't know who kidnapped him. Fortunately, his consciousness transferred into an automaton and so some version of him is still with the party. The other characters are trying to locate and rescue him. They're up against a ticking clock, because with each passing day he loses a little bit more of his mind and gains a point of Insanity.

This session opened mid-fight against four invisible stalkers on a bridge at midnight. They had lured the characters into a fake exchange. The characters defeated the stalkers and took one captive. Now, at 5th level, they're finally formidable combatants.

They rallied at a safe house the Church of Lothian had provided. They interrogated the stalker, hoping to find the location of the dwarf. The stalker didn't know the location of the dwarf -- that information was kept from him in case he was captured. However, he revealed secret information about the origins of the Pactlords of the Quaan -- which was directly tied into the backstory of the elf wizard. This was a key reveal in the campaign. It went perfectly. I'm so happy with how it played out. The Pactlords are now elevated as major antagonists. The elf and the dwarf are personally invested in taking them down.

With a few clues gleaned from stalker the characters gained a new lead on the location of the dwarf. They spent the rest of the session planning their next steps.

The characters also learned the origin of the invisible stalker -- a once-good man who committed a terrible evil and was cursed with perpetual invisibility. The players debated what to do. They came very close to murdering the stalker. Ultimately, they decided to release him. For that everyone lost a point of Corruption.

Enjoying this adventure immensely and definitely recommend it.

Next session: The Veiled Woman!
 

Greenfield

Adventurer
Our current DM has been playing for decades, yet it often seems he doesn't know the rules. We're playing 3.5.

Several times he called for D20 rolls, but wouldn't tell us why or what it was for. When he finally said what it was, it turns out it was for Balance or some similar standard skill check. It just didn't occur to him to plan it with skills in mind.

He withholds information, even when we ask direct questions: "Do I see any damage yet?" Answer: "You wold expect some." Re-question: "Do I see it now?" similar non-answer in response until I wanted to scream at him to PLEASE ANSWER THE F-ING QUESTION! He didn't want to answer because it would tell us something important. Which was why we were asking the question in the first place.

Getting basic answers was like pulling teeth. With toy pliers.

He's trying to make it challenging, but that's a lousy way to do it.

As a note in his favor: It's a royal pain to run a Dragon, to even prepare a Dragon for play. As the saying goes, "Greatly did he fail, but greatly did he try."
 

Richards

Legend
Last night's "Ghourmand Vale" session was interesting. We made it to the Vale, got paid, and were hired almost instantly to find out why the church of St. Cuthbert hadn't received its wagonload of foodstuffs from a farm they deal with. We went to the farm with our own horse and wagon, just in time to see a wagon loaded down with food (much of it in crates marked with the holy symbol of St. Cuthbert) tearing down the road, being carelessly driven by three hobgoblins. They turned a corner hard after passing us by, broke a wagon wheel, and were pitched forward to the ground. We took them out without any difficulty (two were dead before the third even realized we were there), then loaded the goods onto our wagon (the other one didn't have a spare wheel, so we left it where it was and tied the two horses' reins from that wagon to the back of our wagon) and backtracked to the farm where the goods came from.

There, we found the farmhouse had been taken over by a band of hobgoblins. The human husband and wife were bound and unconscious inside, along with two foreign strangers who barely spoke Common. But we were up against a full nine hobgoblins plus their leader; the only thing that prevented a TPK was the "normal" hobgoblin warriors came at us in waves of 2-4 - well, that and the fact that my nephew Harry's dice were on fire last night. (He took out five hobgoblins completely on his own, with one strike each with his longsword - and that was without smiting evil; as we're still 1st level and he only gets smite evil once/day, he was saving that for the "boss.")

Our halfling rogue got taken out almost immediately, dropped into the negative numbers by a single blow from the hobgoblin leader's +1 flaming burst longsword; I had to save her with an unseen servant that dragged her away from battle and poured the contents of a healing potion down her throat. But she was back in action in time for the big finish, when we were up against the boss (who was being flanked by my nephew's half-elf paladin and my own human "doesn't realize he's a sorcerer" young nobleman) and she managed to sneak attack him with a kobold shortspear through the back of the neck, delivering the killing blow.

The foreign guys weren't sure how they'd gotten there - they claimed to have walked into some mist and ended up here from their own country - but they were radiating evil like crazy and their story of having been captured along with the farmers didn't add up. (Why would the hobgoblins have tied them up but left them their scimitars, and why were there no knots in the hunks of rope by where they had apparently been bound?) So we got in a final fight with them, which knocked me into unconsciousness almost immediately - the other three PCs took care of those two.

And then, to add insult to injury, they decided to just bind my wounds to prevent me from bleeding out instead of feeding me the potion of cure light wounds I carry on my belt. Their reasoning? Then they wouldn't have to listen to me prattle on during the journey back to the church of St. Cuthbert, since I'd be unconscious in the back of the wagon....

But we all leveled up to 2nd level. I, naturally, rolled a "1" and now have a grand total of 9 hp. (Good thing I have a +2 Con bonus!) And the other PCs have me pretty much convinced I might just be an arcane spellcaster after all (although I'm fairly certain I'm a wizard, and must just be so good at it I don't need to bother with a spellbook like "commoner" wizards apparently have to do).

Johnathan
 

We finished up our campaign that had been running for over two years.
I won't really go into detail as it would probably be all spoilers for Hoard of the Dragon Queen, but it was really cool and we had a lot of fun. My character got the final shot on Tiamat which was satisfying.

It was the first time I've ever played all the way through to level 20 which in itself is a pretty amazing accomplishment.
I've agreed to DM next, so we'll see how that goes.
 

We finished up our campaign that had been running for over two years.
I won't really go into detail as it would probably be all spoilers for Hoard of the Dragon Queen, but it was really cool and we had a lot of fun. My character got the final shot on Tiamat which was satisfying.

It was the first time I've ever played all the way through to level 20 which in itself is a pretty amazing accomplishment.
I've agreed to DM next, so we'll see how that goes.
I finished my first 1-20 campaign last year and it was definitely a bucket list moment. Congratulations!
 


27th 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.
Six sessions ago the dwarf fighter was kidnapped in the Banewarrens and taken into Ptolus. This session the others player finally got him back.

They knew he had been kidnapped by the Pactlords of the Quaan and they'd discovered the Pactlords had an agent known as the Veiled Woman. She held court at a sort of high society/low life speakeasy called the Onyx Spider. The Onyx Spider was neutral ground where no blood could be spilled. A great place for shady dealings.

They split the party -- one in disguise at the bar, another on the street outside, and three who approached the Veiled Woman directly. They asked her what she wanted in return for their kidnapped comrade -- but they already knew the answer: The Bane Key.

The Veiled Woman was ready to do the swap right here, right now. The dwarf for the Key. The players were incredibly reluctant to give her the Key, even though they believed they could simply follow the Pactlords into the Banewarrens, ambush them, and recover the Key.

What followed was a game of three dimensional chess as I tried to figure out how to orchestrate the exchange. The characters missed a few opportunities to backtrack the villains to their lair and locate the dwarf -- a recurring theme over the last several sessions. I could sense it was time to resolve this subplot and move on. Ultimately, the deal was done -- the dwarf for the Key.

As the Veiled Woman and her bodyguards exited the Onyx Spider with the Bane Key in their possession, the wizard followed under an invisibility spell. He watched as a wyvern descended from the night sky. The Veiled Woman mounted the wyvern, then turned to face the wizard -- as if she could see him. She took off her mask, revealing the face of their supposed ally, the half-elf sorceress Jevvica Norr. She gestured for the wizard to join her on the wyvern. "Well," she said, "what are you waiting for?"

Next session: Sting of the Wyvern!

PS: During the ransom, the characters learned that the Pactlords hoped to find a magical plague within the Banewarrens and unleash it upon civilization. So stopping them is more important than ever.
 
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Richards

Legend
In today's "Dreams of Erthe" campaign session, the PCs had two encounters on the road: a pair of guards from Devlinshire (the location of their previous adventure, in which they killed three dread warriors animated at the behest of the local Duke) who warned them to be on the lookout for a group of five people described to look exactly like the five of them (the guards were okay with the PCs having slain undead in their city and were basically telling them to make themselves scarce before they were found out); and then an elderly noblewoman asking how long it was to Devlinshire, for she had business that way. She paid the human spellsword with a gold coin for his assistance.

Then they made their way to Snail Valley, the site of the next dream victim: a 6-year-old girl named Rosie Picklemeyer. However, when they tried to enter her dream, the human spellsword never made it to the Dreamlands and without all five present they couldn't alter her dream (of trying to hold a tea party when seven snail babies were crying). Some investigations led them to the realization the "elderly noblewoman" they'd met on the road was a night hag and she'd chosen the spellsword as her next victim, riding him as he slept.

The PCs had to sneak back into Devlinshire (one invisible, three hidden in a rope trick spell beneath the wagon, and only the human bard visible driving the wagon), where they consulted with the clerics of the Goddess of Magic, found out what they could about night hags, and paid them for a plane shift scroll and the casting of a plane shift spell to get them to the Ethereal Plane, where the night hag had set up a "dream trap" for the spellsword - any time he fell asleep, he got shunted to her dream trap on the Ethereal Plane before his sleeping mind made it all the way to the Dreamlands.

Once on the Ethereal Plane, the PCs entered her dream trap, fought off a pair of ethereal marauders and a pair of phase spiders, found the "genie lamp" that held her extradimensional space where she did all of her victim-riding, and fought and killed the night hag, her nightmare steed, and five larvae (the spellsword would have eventually been converted into a sixth larva, at which point the night hag would go sell the bunch on the Lower Planes - profit!). As a result, the spellsword was freed from the constant draining of physical attributes caused by being hag-ridden in his dream trap each night, the PCs gained a mobile HQ in the form of the extradimensional genie lamp, and they were even savvy enough to gather up a vast quantity of phase spider silk, which can be sold to wizards eager to create magic items (like portable holes) which use the material. So fun adventure, a different set of foes, and vast quantities of treasure (which helps balance the adventures where there's little to no treasure to be found). And now that the spellsword showed back up in the Dreamalnds when he fell asleep, they were able to put the crying snail babies back to sleep so they could all have their tea party with Rosie and her stuffed animal, Mr. Bear, after which she awoke from her weeks-long dream coma.

And the paranoid human spellsword's player got to say "I told you so" to the half-orc cleric/paladin's player, who refuses to cast detect evil on everyone they meet because he feels it would be rude (and specifically didn't cast detect evil on the elderly noblewoman - the night hag in disguise - when he had the chance to do so).

Johnathan

Crying Snail Baby 01.jpg
 

28th 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 Berserker/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/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 session started with most of the characters inside an underworld speakeasy called the Onyx Spider. They'd just concluded a deal with the Pactlords to ransom back the dwarf in return for the Bane Key, which unlocks the magically sealed vault doors within the Banewarrens.

To honor the terms of the deal, the characters agreed to stay inside the Onyx Spider for five minutes as the Pactlords exited. They couldn't leave early without violating the rules of the Spider and rousing the wrath of its owner. So they reluctantly decided to play by the rules.

Unfortunately, a rival group of adventurers working for the evil House Vladaam was not bound by that agreement. They followed the Pactlords out of the Spider -- but not before talking trash to the frustrated player characters.

However, one character was already outside -- the elf wizard. And he was invisbile. He used a spell called fetch to steal the Bane Key from the Pactlords without them even realizing it. Then he hid as the rival adventurers attacked the Pactlords.

Abbreviated session as one of the players was coming down with Covid.

The player changed the kidnapped dwarf's expert path from Fighter to Berserker to reflect the impact of his captivity.

Next session: The players take on the boggle who started this all!
 
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Richards

Legend
In tonight's Ghourmand Vale session, we found our way out of "not-quite-Ravenloft-but-clearly-patterned-after-it" via a temporary planar gate that dumped us 6 days out of Ghourmand Vale. We ditched the betraying sorceress who had already used us for patsies once, then found our way to a halfling village just as the last tavern was closing. The tavernkeeper gave us directions to a halfling pony farmer on the outskirts of the village, and traveling through the woods to get there we rescued his son from a pair of worgs. The next morning we got directions to Ghourmand Vale, bought a pony and his only two light horses, and started on our overland trek. The halfling rode the pony, our armor-clad half-elf paladin rode one horse, which meant I got to buddy up with the elf archer, riding double on the second horse.

On the first day, we ran into an ettercap and two spider swarms, which we fought off using what fire we had available. (The paladin wields a flaming burst longsword he took from a hobgoblin and my sorcerer had a burning hands spell scroll; after that, it was the archer's flasks of oil being lit by a burning brand from my sorcerer's unseen servant, Ogilvy.) After killing the ettercap and one spider swarm, the other swarm decided to tuck into the dead ettercap and we continued on our trek unmolested.

Then the DM fast-forwarded us the rest of the trek home. We'll need to finish the task we were doing before we got whisked away to not-quite-Ravenloft, which was clearing out a dwarven mine of svirfneblin interlopers. And we're just at the cusp of 3rd level, so the next adventure should put us over the edge.

Edit: There apparently had been an error in our XP calculations - it turned out we were at 3rd level at the end of this adventure after all.

Johnathan
 
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