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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Post A Dozen and One Adventures

    At the request of my group, I'm writing up another campaign journal for one of my active games. This time around, they wanted an "Arabian Nights" themed game, but still set in the same campaign world as the last one (making this a sort-of-but-not-really sequel to the Ragesian Incursion). So I trawled about in dusty books and dead campaign settings until I found just what I needed: Al-Qadim. Since I had a fairly compatible area in my campaign world, it only took a little work to adapt a lot of that dead campaign setting to what was already established. I threw in some Dark Sun for good measure, and polished it off with promises of resolving some of the old party's unfinished business. I'm really hoping this one goes well, so come join us. It's barbaric, but hey, it's home!

    Spoiler: The Party
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    Aiden Cavan - LG Human Paladin 3/Sorcerer 1. Our resident knight in shining armor. He's a legionnaire from Zounah sent to Al-Hasan on a diplomatic mission to negotiate a trade deal between the two countries. He'll need to be the party's moral compass.
    Ishq - CG Air Genasi Barbarian 4. A local of Al-Hassan, she's a flirty musician who likes telling stories. I believe her player described her as "Shahrazad, but with anger issues".
    Anyah - CN Githyanki Bard 4. She's a disillusioned member of the Ragesian army who got left behind when the higher-ups put the march on indefinite halt. Currently motivated by wealth and power, but seems attached to Aiden enough to listen to him most of the time.
    Tia - CN Wood Elf Ranger 4. One of the many children of Kagan Onamdammin (which makes her a princess, but that title doesn't carry much weight in Tularus), she's in Al-Hassan hunting bandits and looking for a way to take her father's throne by any means necessary.
    Sidi-Kantha - CN Naga Rogue 4. Sure, she has a real name, but everyone calls her Disaster Snek. Plays up the Trickster angle. Largely self-centered, but she's pretty good friends with Ishq.
    T'Klik'Chik - TN Thri'Kreen Druid 4. A slightly late-comer to the group. He was rolling up a character almost identical to an NPC the party rescued at the end of their first adventure, so the group just decided to retcon things so his character was the one that got rescued (kept things easier that way). Has a newfound hatred of "minions".
    Fuego - CG Fire Genasi Wizard 4. Loves to study things for the sake of studying them, and surprisingly isn't a pyromaniac. He also likes toques and french toast.
    Last edited by SleepyShadow; 2019-10-25 at 04:44 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: A Dozen and One Adventures

    Spoiler: A Little Knowledge
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    The party started out the campaign separated into two groups: those who were native to Al-Hassan, and those who weren't. The local PCs (Ishq and Sidi) started off in Hassan, the capital city, and were approached by the captain of the city guard (in actuality, the crown prince using disguise self) to investigate and disrupt a slave caravan traveling from Urik to Tyr. The caravan was owned by the notorious Resherek Merchant House, a group that supplemented their legitimate business by capturing foreigners and selling them on the black market. With the promise of 50 gp each and free camels, the locals rode off to intercept the slavers.

    Cutting over to the foreign PCs, Aiden and Anyah were prisoners inside the Resherek slave caravan. The legionnaire and the alien made a bit of small talk before planning their escape.

    "Alright, I'm gonna break these cuffs," Aiden said. "Then we'll fight our way out of here, get our gear, and rescue any others that've been captured."
    "That last part sounds like more trouble than it's worth," Anyah replied.

    To my surprise, Aiden actually managed to snap the giant hair shackles and break free. Athletics DC 21 is nothing to sneeze at! Of course, this alerted the guards outside the wagon they were being held in, but most of the slavers had other worries at the moment. About this time, a group of elven cavalry archers from Tularus encircled the caravan and started threatening to burn everything if the elven slaves weren't handed over immediately. To their minimal credit, the Resherek slave traders were honest when they said they didn't have any elves on board. Ishq and Sidi arrived on scene at this point. Taking the subtle approach, they decided to sneak their way past the elves and get to the caravan directly. Sidi proved remarkably adept at slithering through a crowd, but Ishq only provoked lewd comments from the elves when they spotted her trying to crawl past. They found Aiden and Anyah trying to get past a psion hired on by the slavers to quell any escape attempts.

    He managed to get off one power before Anyah whacked him upside the head with a chamber pot.

    The party looted the caravan, collecting Aiden's and Anyah's missing gear as well as a few coins of treasure, and rescued another prisoner: a kidnapped priestess of Oketra named Selma (silverbrow human cleric 2/monk 1). The party had only moments to spare before the elves finished slaughtering the slavers and setting fire to the caravan, riding off into the night with the camels Ishq and Sidi had.

    "I can't believe they stole our camels!" Ishq said. "Why would they do that?!"
    "Because desert elves suck," Sidi answered with a shrug.

    The party made introductions with one another and, seeing no other alternative at the moment, resolved to return to Hassan on foot.

    TL;DR - How to make being captured not suck eggs.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: A Dozen and One Adventures

    Spoiler: Mud Wrestling
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    On our second session, Sidi-Kantha couldn't attend, but Tia joined the group that evening. So when the party got ambushed by some thirsty bandits looking to steal their supplies, Tia was introduced as a straggler from the group of Tularuns that attacked the slaver caravan. It was the party's first proper combat, so everyone got to flex a bit of muscle fighting the eight bandits. Aiden showed off how good the Great Weapon Mastery feat is at low levels (the bandits were all 1 HD warriors), and Anyah gave a preview of how many gosh darned Wisdom saving throws I'd be rolling this campaign. One poor sap got caught in a flank between Ishq and Aiden. Since both the paladin and the barbarian use glaives, this poor guy had nowhere to go and just died horribly to opportunity attacks. Selma did her best to play support for the group, rotating between healing and using her Solidarity domain ability to Help a PC and still shoot her shortbow. Tia went unconscious toward the end of the fight, but the party took down the last couple of bandits and got her healed before she ever had to roll a death save.

    "Did we get 'em?" she asked as soon as she regained consciousness.
    "Yeah, we're good," Anyah answered.
    "Cool," Tia said, giving a thumbs up from the ground.

    After resting up from the battle, the party started trudging back toward Hassan. Tia did the ranger thing of making sure nobody starved to death on the road, and the group was smart enough to travel at night to avoid heat stroke (darn clever players ). After a day or two of travel, the party came upon a pristine looking watering hole. Pacing around the hole agitatedly was a critter which looked like a 15 ft. long armadillo. The critter (later identified as a mekilot) seemed to be dehydrated, but refused to drink from the watering hole. Curious, the party examined the area a little closer and found another mekilot by the water. Judging by the smell, it had been dead for a couple of days at least. Tia did the other thing rangers are good at and calmed the mekilot down enough to let the rest of the party examine the water.

    "Do you think it's poisoned?" Aiden asked.
    "Dunno, I'm not an alchemist," Anyah replied. "Let's get Ishq to drink it."
    "I'm not drinking poison," the barbarian huffed.
    "I'm sure you'd be fine."
    "If only there was a spell to let us purify this water," Aiden said with a small sigh.
    "That'd be ridiculous," Anyah laughed.
    Aiden pinched the bridge of his nose. "Selma, can you help me out here?"
    "It'll take me about fifteen minutes, but I think I can clear up the water," Selma replied nervously.
    "Wait, she can pray the poison away?" Anyah asked incredulously.

    Selma knelt down by the edge of the water and began to quietly pray to Oketra for help (ritual casting purify food and drink fifteen times), while the rest of the party kept an eye out for trouble or kept the nervous mekilot pacified. While Selma was doing this, a group of elves riding giant beetles (called kanks) approached the group and got really upset about the party being by "their water". Naturally, this went over like a lead balloon with the group, and it was only due to a few choice words and a decent Persuasion check from Aiden that kept the two groups from getting into a brawl. The elves left with threats of returning in greater numbers if they caught the party there again. The PCs let Selma finish purifying the water, refilled their flasks, and let the mekilot drink from the pool once they were sure it wasn't poisoned.

    "Hey, those slavers had a tamed mekilot, right?" Tia asked.
    "Yeah, it's what was pulling their caravan," I answered.
    "Can I tame this one?"
    "Let me check real quick ... Yeah, you could tame it if you spent a month working with it. You could also pay an animal handler in town to tame it for you."
    "Is that cheaper than buying one off the market?"
    "Yeah, half the price."
    "Cool," Tia said. "I'm gonna bring this big fella back to town with us."

    Gotta let players have their fun sometimes

    The party and their newly acquired mekilot hit the trail again, and a little while later saw a small group of dwarven children playing in a mudflat. Thinking this jolly good fun, Ishq and Aiden decided to go play with the children. The kids started throwing mud balls at our heroes, and the two PCs responded in kind. After a few moments of watching, Selma joined in the game as well.

    "This is dumb," Tia grumbled.
    "I know," Anyah replied. "They're getting filthy!"

    Suddenly, a nasty looking critter ripped straight out of Tremors popped up out of the mud flat, snatched one of the dwarf children, and dragged her screaming underground. Galvanized into action, the PCs herded the children closer to them and readied actions to attack the beastie once it showed its face again. It tried and failed to grab Ishq, and got clowned in a salvo of melee attacks. With the monster down, the party quickly set about trying to find what happened to the little girl that got grabbed. It didn't take long for them to find the monster's muddy burrow, and Aiden leaped into action and plunged headlong through the mud.

    "Do you have darkvision?" I asked.
    "No, I'm a human," Aiden replied.
    "Okay, do you have the light cantrip?"
    "Um ... no."

    To solve this dilemma, Ishq thrust her glaive through the mud and asked Selma to cast light on it. As the spell lit up the cavern, Aiden saw the dwarf girl standing right in front of him, slightly confused why he couldn't see her until now. He picked the little girl up with one arm, grabbed hold of Ishq's polearm, and pulled on it a couple of times. Ishq heaved the glaive straight up and pulled our shiny paladin and the little girl out of the monster burrow. Two sessions in and we've already got a big damn hero moment

    At this point, the adult dwarves arrived on scene. The party quickly explained what had happened, the dwarven parents were grateful for the heroes stepping in to save their children, and as the children were ushered off the mud flats, the party was approached by a dwarven maiden with a keen eye and a strong arm. She introduced herself as Tahaani al-Shaikh and explained that she was the leader of the small band of dwarves out here in the middle of nowhere. According to Tahaani, the dwarves were part of the Shom Merchant House and had been trying to find relics of the past in an old ruined village nearby.

    "Unfortunately, we're going to have to cut our losses and head home early," Tahaani said. "Our pack animals keep dying. We found out that the nearest source of water is poisoned, but whatever it is doesn't seem to affect elves or kanks. Sure kills camels quick, though."
    "We took care of the poison already," Aiden said.
    "That's good news! Did you happen to find a thri-kreen druid by the watering hole?" Tahaani asked. "I hired him to clean it up a few days ago, but he never came back. I paid a small fortune in raw meat for his help, too."
    "What's a thri-kreen?" Ishq asked.
    "A big bug person," Tahaani answered. "Kinda like a praying mantis."
    "We only saw a few elves," Aiden said.
    "Those accursed elves must've got him," Tahaani grumbled. "Poor guy, he seemed nice enough. Think you guys could rescue him?"
    "I have an appointment with the prince I have to keep," Aiden replied. "I'm already late enough."
    "I've got an in with Prince Duralt," Tahaani said quickly. "Rescue the druid and I'll put in a good word for you. I'll throw a few shekels your way while I'm at it."
    "Money and favor from the prince? Sounds good to me," Tia said.

    The PCs took a short rest before heading off to talk to the elves, since they didn't know if they'd have to fight in order to free the thri-kreen. The elf village wasn't too hard to find, nor was it particularly big. It only had about three hundred people in total. However, these weren't the sort of elves my players had come to expect. They weren't the willowy forest elves or the rangy elves from Tularus, nor were they pale waifs from the Frostfell. The shortest of these adults were six feet in height, with many being nearly seven feet, and even the most svelte of these elves weight in at 200 lb. Many were heavily tattooed, and as the party entered the village several of them grabbed brutal looking bludgeoning weapons and stared the PCs down.

    "I think that guy is giving our mekilot the hungry eyes," Anyah whispered nervously.
    "I think he's giving us the hungry eyes," Ishq whispered back.

    Aiden held up his hands and called for peace, and asked to speak with the village chief. The elves chuckled and called out to one hut in particular. Emerging first were a pair of elves that looked like they could each bench press a fully grown horse and then eat it in a single sitting. Following behind them was a tall and powerfully built elven man wearing nothing but a loincloth and a pair of sunglasses. He slowly pulled his sunglasses down, arched one eyebrow at the PCs, and smoldered at them until somebody talked.

    "We just want to get the thri-kreen back," Aiden started. "Do you guys still have him?"
    "The Chief isn't sure who you mean," The Chief said.
    "Look, there's a bunch of dwarves who hired a druid to detox your pond," Tia grumbled. "We're here to get him back."
    "The Chief thinks he knows the jabroni you speak of," The Chief replied. "He came around here messing with our water! An unforgivable thing!"
    "He was just trying to remove the poison!" Ishq said.
    "The Chief knows what he was doing! We didn't want the poison removed! It doesn't hurt elves or kanks, and if it keeps people away from our village, so much the better! And now some candyass paladin and his scrawny little harem come into this village and demand that The Chief and his elves-"
    "Hooo-Waaaah!" cried a chorus of villagers.
    "-to just hand over their prisoner?!" The Chief finished, eliciting another chorus of cheers from the villagers.
    "Yes," Aiden said firmly. "It's the right thing to do."
    rolls a 20 on Persuasion
    "The Chief is impressed by your conviction!" The Chief said. "The Chief wants you to take that jabroni thri-kreen and get your candyasses out of his village!"
    "Hooo-Waaaah!"

    The elves handed the thri-kreen over to the party and they got out of there as fast as humanly possible while the most obvious wrestling reference flew right over their heads.

    "Well, that was weird," Ishq said.
    "I wonder why those elves hate thri-kreen so much," Aiden pondered.
    "They eat elves," Selma replied.
    "Yikes," Anyah said with a wince.
    "Well, at least we won't have to deal with those guys again," Tia said.

    The party laughed, the thri-kreen laughed, the dwarves laughed, and everyone made it back to the city safely.

    TL;DR - I like it when the party decides to be heroes without any reason other than for the sake of being heroes.
    Last edited by SleepyShadow; 2019-09-13 at 08:37 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: A Dozen and One Adventures

    Spoiler: The Exiled Enchanter
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    T'Klik'Chik was handed over to a new player as the party arrived in Hassan, which was good timing since Sidi missed the session again. The PCs met up with Tahaani at a local tavern, and much to Tia's dismay found the only alcohol served was locally brewed pilsner. Once there, the PCs met with the guard who had originally hired Ishq and Sidi to bust the Resherek slave caravan. He paid Ishq the 100 gp owed, and was about to leave when Aiden mentioned to Tahaani that he had a meeting with the prince to discuss a trade agreement between Al-Hassan and Zounah. The dwarf woman gave a grin and stopped the guard before he could depart. The guard sighed and willed the disguise self spell to end, revealing himself to be none other than Duralt Veluth - the crown prince himself!

    "Well, that was easier than I expected," Aiden said.

    Duralt introduced himself properly to the group, made brief and half-hearted attempts to woo Ishq and Selma, then got down to business. He wanted to hire the party to investigate a lost source of magical power, one allegedly used by the now extinct "alabaster elves" in an era gone by. He only had a few clues to go on, but he was certain this ancient magic would prove invaluable on both a practical and academic level. After negotiating terms of 500 gp each, the PCs agreed to help. Duralt suggested the party should track down an old scholar by the name of Haddin Ja-Laffan, an exiled enchanter who lived out in the desert with his family. Since the party was large enough to handle itself these days, Selma opted to stay behind with Duralt and Tahaani to help with research rather than accompany the PCs.

    While the PCs bought supplies for the journey to find Haddin, Ishq asked around town to find out if anyone knew something about him. A quick Charisma check later and she learned that Haddin had once been a renowned court magician before his exile. His half-orc half-brother was a member of the local thieves' guild, and was considered a troublemaker by most. The half-orc had suddenly began to turn his life around, and rumors soon spread that Haddin had used enchantment magic to force his brother to change his ways. Soon dozens of people began to come out of the woodworks, claiming (some falsely) Haddin had dominated them and forced them to act against their will. A lynch mob was formed, Haddin's brother was killed, and Haddin fled from town with his wife and newborn child. Nowadays, people occasionally see a young woman who looks strikingly similar to Haddin's wife. She comes into town to buy supplies every few weeks, but she always acts as if in a daze. The local merchants suspect she's Haddin's daughter, and that he's ensorcelled her for some reason.

    Armed with this new knowledge (but unfortunately no scrolls of protection from evil), the PCs ventured out into the desert to bring the Ja-Laffans back to town. Along the way, they ran into a couple of encounters. The first one was against a handful of silt runners, which are essentially buff but stupid kobolds. The party got to test out their group dynamics in a proper combat and discovered that silt runners hit really hard with their stinger tails. The next encounter was against a pack of wild kanks. Not much came of this encounter, but T'Klik'Chik got the ever loving snot beat out of him by a trio of 1 hp kank hatchlings. He was quite salty about losing a fight to minions

    In the aftermath of the fight with the kanks, the PCs discovered a recently raided merchant caravan belonging to House Wavir. The drivers and most of the goods were missing, and a trail of drag marks led away from the caravan.

    "There may be survivors," Aiden said.
    "We should help them," Ishq stated.
    "Agreed," Aiden replied.
    "We're in no shape to keep going," Anyah rebutted. "I've got no spells left, and Tia's barely conscious. We need rest."
    "They might die if we don't go now," Aiden argued.
    "We're no good to them dead," Anyah said flatly.

    The party eventually decided to rest, level up, and head out as soon as they were prepared.

    TL;DR - Plot happened, and the party once again decided to be a bunch of heroes without prompting

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: A Dozen and One Adventures

    Spoiler: Self Appointed Nemesis
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    The party followed the silt runner's tracks to an abandoned windmill, long lost to the desert sands. Meanwhile, I was scrambling to come up with a way to introduce another party member who was joining the group this session. Ultimately I settled on having him be one of the caravan guards captured along with the drivers, but he'd been able to slip free of his bonds with a little help from one of the drivers. The party busts into the basement of the windmill and get attacked by a half dozen silt runners, one of which was a shaman.

    My players hate fighting enemy casters, and I'll never understand why

    With help from the new PC, the party emerges from the fight battered but victorious. Introductions go around the table as the new PC reveals himself to be Fuego the fire genasi wizard. I try to hide my eye rolling. The party accepts Fuego into the fold and offers to escort the rescued caravan drivers back to town, along with whatever trade goods could be salvaged. The party isn't under any sort of time constraint, so they feel pretty at ease now that they've rescued the people in danger. The trek back to town is uneventful, and the second trip out into the desert is marked only by a mildly inconvenient encounter with some more silt runners.

    At last, the party arrived at Haddin's crude stone house in the middle of nowhere. Fuego was quick to identify the house as being crafted from the shape stone spell, and immediately warned the party of the potent magic the old wizard must have at his disposal. Aiden reassured the new member that they're just here to escort Haddin and his family back to the city, and he knocked on the door. It was answered by a fetching young woman with a dazed look on her face. There was a moment of confusion before the party realized she must be Haddin's daughter, Crystal. The young lady let the party inside, and they found Haddin stewing angrily in a chair by the dead fireplace. Haddin was a difficult man to deal with, but eventually the PCs were able to convince him to accompany them back to town.

    Along the way, Ishq and Anyah made several attempts to converse with Crystal, but she always spoke as if in a daze. Eventually they asked Fuego to check on her, and sure enough the party's new wizard was able to tell that Haddin had been keeping Crystal dominated, possibly for years at this point. Horrified by this, they told Aiden what they had discovered, and the paladin stepped up to confront the old mage.

    "We need to talk," Aiden said firmly.
    "What about?" Haddin asked.
    "Your daughter."
    "She's not available for marriage. Especially not to someone like you."
    "It's not about that!" Aiden stated. "We know what you've done to her."
    "And what do you think I've done, exactly?" Haddin growled.
    "You've been keeping her enchanted to use as a puppet! What do you have to say for yourself?"
    "I'm done with this conversation."

    Before another word was uttered, Haddin cast dominate person and Aiden promptly botched his saving throw. Initiative was rolled, and Aiden nearly dunked Tia in a single hit. Haddin flung some bothersome magic as he tried to retreat from the battle, but there were too many other PCs for Aiden to hold off alone; Fuego and Sidi were able to catch up to the old wizard, and there was only so much Haddin could do before his concentration was broken and the entire party descended upon him. In a bit of poetic justice, Aiden got the last hit to knock him out. By this point, Haddin's enchantment on Crystal had been broken as well, and the party was horrified to learn that she had been mind controlled for the last eleven years ... and she remembered everything.

    "We should kill him," Ishq said.
    "Duralt needs to speak with him," Aiden reminded her.
    "What if he enchants him like he enchanted you?"
    "We won't let that happen."
    "He's too dangerous."
    "Tricks like his only work once. Now we know to be on the lookout for enchantment magic."

    Before the party could pack up camp and keep moving, a streak of bright light shot toward the party. When the light drew to a halt, the PCs saw a Ragesian girl on a flying broom hovering above them with a smirk on her face and a silly looking witch hat on her head.

    "I'm here to collect the girl!" she shouted from her perch.
    "Which one?" Aiden shouted back.
    She paused to check a note she had written on her palm. "Um, which one of you is Crystal Ja-Laffan?"
    "The human girl!" Anyah answered. "What do you want with her?"
    "Master Lifegiver requires the girl for research!"
    "Who's Lifegiver?"
    "My mentor in the magical arts!"
    "Okay, so who are you?"
    "I am Corrin Dupont, and I've been authorized to collect the girl by any means necessary!"
    "You can't have her!" Fuego said.
    "The Hunter Knight says otherwise!" Corrin said with a laugh.

    A streak of red shot down from the sky, and a knight in dull armor stood before the PCs. It was armed with a sword and shield, and wore a long red cloak. The battle began. Of course, what the PCs didn't know was that the "Hunter Knight" was really just three animated objects stacked together. The armor, the sword, and the cloak were all separately animated and could fight independently of each other. It worked like a charm; scared the party witless when an enemy appeared to have four attacks per round! Meanwhile, Corrin was content to hang out on her broom and zap people with cantrips.

    At one point during the fight, Anyah ran into Crystal's tent to protect her, and she readied an action to "stab the next thing that comes in here." Apparently Fuego missed that phrase, because he also ran into the tent to get away from Corrin's constant cantrip barrage - which triggered Anyah's readied action. Her attack brought the poor new guy to single digit hp, but he didn't seem that concerned.

    "Sorry," Fuego said.
    "I just stabbed you!" Anyah blurted out. "Why are you apologizing?!"
    "I ... I don't know," Fuego admitted sadly.

    Eventually the party managed to dismantle the "knight", but Corrin escaped on her broomstick with a promise to return and finish the job.

    "Did we just gain our first nemesis?" Sidi asked.
    "I hope not," Aiden said. "I wouldn't want to hurt her."
    "You think she's cute, don't you?"
    "Strangely enough, annoying French magical girls aren't my type. No offense, Anyah."
    "None taken," the bard said with a shrug.

    TL;DR - The party learns that mages come in all flavors.
    Last edited by SleepyShadow; 2019-10-25 at 04:45 PM.

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