View Full Version : (Campaign log) The skyknights of Kazalya

2015-01-25, 08:15 AM
Ever since starting D&D three years ago, I've been dreaming of running my own campaign. Last year I started to run hoard of the dragon queen in our local gamestore, which was an exploding succes. Really, it was. I honestly have to say I did not expect that, nor did I expect that I would be the one to be the DM. But suddenly I was there with more then eight people frequenting each wednesday evening. I scouted for people with an interest in playing a homemade campaign at my place. Four people joined me.

English is not my native language, so please bear with me a little:smallbiggrin:

The premise;

The once mighty empire of Kazalya is in dismay. Rebellions, unrest, political brooding and mysterious magical phenomeno are tearing the empire apart. Not to mention the threats that rise outside the boarders who are more then eager to prey on the weakened and divided empire. The emperor himself is very old, his oldest son is dying of a disease, the youngest son has been leading a rebellion to claim the throne for over a year and the daughter has mysteriously vanished. In the middle of this chaos is still one glimmer of hope and order; the skyknights! An ancient imperial order of elite air cavalry, plowing through the sky upon their flying mounts.

The players are new recruits in the ranks of the sky knights. They started at level 3 as that - in 5th edition -is the level where they have actually chosen their most important paths and it doesn't make much sense for an elite knight to be level one which is little more then a glorified farmer who happens to be wielding a weapon and wrapped himself in an armor of toilet paper. The players were allowed to choose between a pegasus, griffin or wyvern mount. All three mounts were tweaked to be somewhat of the same level. As we prefer role playing over roll playing, the choices were mostly made on personal preference and badassery.
Additionally each player gained one plot point as described in the 5e DMG which can be used to alter parts of the stories, like making an important NPC appear, finding a long lost temple where they can find some answers for something or another and whatever other crazy ideas can come up with.
The game will be high fantasy with a gritty feel. I have banned ressurection, because that is simply lame and it must be clear that when something bad happens, it will be permanent.

Getting their first mission.
At first, the story started in the deep reaches of space, where a big chunk of amethyst coloured rock with a long icy tail was seen. It approached a beautiful world. The comet came closer and closer and closer. For a fraction of time mergin with the world - turning in one big bright light - and then Boom!
So, one year earlier, four new recruits had joined the ranks of the legendary skyknights. In their base on top of the sacred mount Zarbul, they await their first mission. In the library, sat the Half elf fey Warlock Odeur, reading up on many arcane secrets and lore the order had come across. He heard that the librarian was unhappy about something, so he decided to get of his arse and ask what was going on. It seemd a member of the order had refused to return his books again and cared little about fines. Brave Odeur decided to pull this foul non-returner straight. Meanwhile, in the canteen, the dwarf fighter Bjaern was eating a meal.

On the training grounds, the dragonborn Eldritch knight Tensa watched a match between a big man named Brutus and some other poor sod who lost. When Brutus offered 50 gold to anyone who could defeat him in a honorable duel, Tensa decidedto step in. The two fighters exchanged blows, but Brutus quickly gained the upper hand as he bashed Tensa to the ground. Tensa was not so quickly defeated though. While he got to his feet, he drew his net and threw it over his opponent. When Brutus tried to save himself from the net, he made a misstep and fell to the ground. The dragonborn bursted out in... a weird modern type of dance that shall not be discussed any further. At this point, Brutus called cowardice and dishonour over his opponent, refusing to continue the fight or paying the dragonborn.

The dwarf fighter Bjaern was eating another meal in the canteen.

The noble elf paladin Solarius Luminos, was engaged in a game of chess against himself. It took a great deal of thinking to outmaneuver his own mind. A fellow sky knight was watching the game with great interest, but this person soon had to answer to a warlock as Odeur burst in and demanded some books to be returned. The sky knight refused, his family funded the library so he had all the right too... And then the warlock charmed him and ordered him to return the book. And then the warlock himself had to answer to his lawfull good soon to be party member. Meanwhile, the dwarf fighter Bjaern - and this may surprise you - was eating a meal in the canteen. A man came in, looking for the missing daughter of his boss. At that moment, Bjaern decided to do something else then eating and started to take a nap.

Eventually the man looking for the missing girl found Tensa, who was willing to help. The dragonborn eventually found the little girl staring at the silver dragon that belonged to the orders leader; Ordus Magnificus Nivarren the just. When he brought the girl back to her father, he turned out to be a jewelry merchant visiting the order and he offered Tensa a saphire as a reward. However, the dragonborn Eldritch knight decided that he could not take this gift. (The guy could have been rich by now). After that, he meets his fellow former student Annunnaki Stormwalker and his albino wyvern, who believes that they'll get their first mission early the next day.

Annunnaki's information turns out to be correct and the party is summoned to the briefing room. There Nivarren the just tells them that the city of Drunden has closed its gates and completely isolated itself. But that is not all! The count refuses to pay his taxes to the empire and has now stopped communicating entirely. The party is going under the command of an experienced sky knight named Alver to find out what is going on and to make sure that the city remains loyal to the empire.

Commander Alver wants the party and Annunnaki stormwalker to be ready within the hour. Before tleaving, the party visited the armory, which was ran bij a gnome named Quen. The armory was filled with explosion from magic items being tested and Quen himself was testing a pegasus helm laser. The gnome presented the party with all new state of the art magic armors for their mounts. After that they left for their first epic adventure.

While flying through a chasm, they are attacked by wild flying reptiles. Thanks to Odeurs quick thinking and spellcasting, the reptiles become frightened and flee. The rest of the journey is without incident and they reach Drunden unscathed. The city itself though is all but unharmed. Two black pillars of smoke rose out of the city and when our brave heroes flew over, they saw how some parts were completely abandoned and other parts of the cities were caught up in fighting.

The heroes descended upon the square. They were soon welcomed with praise by a fishermans daughter named Ilea who was very happy to see them. She was taking care of victims of the contamination. Half of the square was turned into a improvised sickbay. The "contaminated" were best distuinguishable by the pointy, purple flowers growing out of their bodies and the blank look on their faces. Ilea told them that they don't know how it spreads or what it is. When Odeur looked for traces of magic, he found out that there was indeed arcane power involved, but it did not feel complete. It was as if he looked at a carpet, but saw only half of the weavings. Ilea also told the sky knights that the count had locked himself in and left the people to fend for themselves.

When commander Alver inspected the contaminated, they suddenly jumped him. The contaminated rose and attacked. The caretakers fled or were overrun. The party was all of a sudden beset by bodies enslaved by a dark power they could not fathom (I used blight statistics for the contaminated). Solarius Luminos shouted that the commander and Ilea had to be saved from the approaching horde. Odeur launched a powerfull arcane attack and was soon supported bijTensa who had a perfect lineup for his acid breath. Bjaern (who was awake and was not eating, so the Snorlax theorie can go out of the window) grabbed the sadle of his griffin Plucky and ordered him to fly over the contaminated and reach the commander who was struggling with three contaminated on top of him. As he attacked to save his commander, he noticed that the flowers were razorsharp as they sliced through Alvers flesh as easily as a hot knife through butter. The contaminated stumbled forward. Ilea was about to be swarmed but was luckily not harmed. Annunnaki Stormwalker flew over to save the girl with his blade that somehow pulsed with a strange blue energy. Unfortunatly I rolled horribly and he was unable to hurt the contaminated. The battle went on for some time and the paladin -first reluctant that he was fighting innocents that were possibly still alive - concluded that there was little sentience left in these beings. In the end our heroes won, but at a terrible price. Their commander had succumbed to his wounds and they were left leaderless in a city that was clearly on a highway to hell.

With Ilea as their guide, the party made for the counts mansion. They found a way in and when the count met them he greeted them with delight and the demand that they would take him out of the city this instant. This demand was met with united refusal from the party. The count attempted to persuade them with rewards, clearly growing more desperate with each offer. But not knowing the nature of the contamination, or the way it spreads, the party was reluctant to let anyone get out of the city. In an act of deperation, the count grabbed Ilea and put a dagger to her throat, once more demanding to be taken out of the city. Once more the party denied him. Then he stabbed the poor girl and told the dagger was poisoned and he would only give the antidote if the party got him out of the city this instant. When the party still didn't want to help him, they finally asked why the count was so desperate to get out.

It turned out that the count was planning on destroying the city. Drunden had been creating magical explosives for the imperial army for decades and when the count thought the situation grew too much out of his control, he had all explosives placed under the city in the sewers. When he noticed the sky knights he saw them as a way out and sent someone to destroy the city. He would be the hero that made a desperate act for the greater good and stopped an unknown disease. However, my party wasn't happy with the fact that an imperial city and its 12.000 residents were to be blown to pieces within thirty minutes. So they told the count they were going to cut of the guy with the torch and stop the city from being wiped off the face of the planet. (If they had just agreed to take the count out of the city, it would have blown up right after they left.

In frustration the count threw his poisoned dagger away and dropped Ilea to the ground. It was Bjaern who then picked the dagger up, stabbed the count and casually said: 'I believe you mentioned an antidote?' The count ordered for the antidote to be fetched immediatly. Tensa snatched it out of the hands of the servant. It was enough for one person. The count had insinuated to know more about the contamination and knew the location of the big boom pile. Ilea was an innocent young girl who had risked her life to help the heroes and the people of the city. The players were unnable to make the choice on a short notice and demanded help from the count. Which he would only give if they swore on their knightly honour that he would be given the antidote. Tensa agreed, but the others did not speak out on this. Given the information needed, the skyknights mounted their steeds and flew off to the best suitable entrance to the sewers. They left their trusty steeds behind and went underground in a city that could blow up any second. Thats some heroism!They managed to find the boom pile just in time to stop the one who was supposed to set it of.

On their way back, the heroes stumbled tupon a room where they witnessed something quite odd... The room was ankledeep in water and taken mostly by a big, black root that was littered with pretty purple flowers. There were about thirte contaminated in the room, staring at this big root. Purple lightning shot between the flowers of the contaminated and the mindstem. Odeur magically inspected the mindstem and found out that it was not just the source of the contamination, but it was also engineerder by someone. Seemingly on purpose. Odeur decided to distract them. He caught the attention from the contaminated and was soon chased through the sewers by all 30. Solarius and Tensa took this opportunity to deliver some of the magical explosives to the mindstem. Just as the warlock got caught and was about to be torn apart, the mindstem bathed in fire and collapsed. The contaminated fell unconscious and the purple flowers dissappeared from their bodies.

After returning to the surface, Tensa cures Ilea and leaves the count to die to great anger from the counts son. Odeur charms the countly son and makes him sign an imperial contract. (I allowed it, its going to bite them in the bum in the future). They return home and deliver their report to Nivarren the just. However, four days later, there is a new mission for them. In the southern islands resides a kingdom that has been a long standing trading partner of the empire. Yet it seems an adult blue dragon has for unknown reasons made his lair on the main island and is terrorising the surrounding settlements including the mines where the islanders mine for their trading resources. The party is to put an end to this.
but how can a level 3 party stop the terror of a fully grown blue dragon?
Who made the contamination and where will he strike next?