I am currently running two campaigns, D&D 5E and Advanced
The Dungeons & Dragons 5E
campaign is ostensibly set in
the Magic world of Dominaria
(though its never really made any serious
difference and ended up being little more than window dressing).
Started out as a classic “go to the dungeon and back by end
of session game” but devolved from there. Was running once a week, now every
Current stock of regular players includes a Human Scout, Shadar-Kai
Assassin, Human Paladin of Vengeance, Kobold Wizard, Dwarf Cleric of Arcana, and
an Elf Monk; formerly included a Halfling Champion, Warforged Druid, Half-Elf
Cleric of Life, and a Human Cleric of War. Average level is around high 3rd
to low 4th
level, ranging from 2nd
one has died yet.
Started out as part of effort to re-conquer Lost Oneah, a
realm generally Hindu in style and culture; the greater political game was
quickly abandoned for quicker cash rewards, and efforts have included rescuing
colonists (went well enough), rescuing a princess (went very poorly), capturing
pirates (wildly successful), and now tooling around the ocean hunting more
pirates (but instead encountering lost temples filled with Sahuagin and a ruined
So far the game is still usually fun; we shall see how it
goes once the party starts to hit those mid-levels, where in my experience the
game really begins the break down.
The Advanced Labyrinth Lord
campaign has had rotating
Labyrinth Lords and even various campaign settings (this is the campaign that was,
for a while, set in the Modron area, but now is far off somewhere else, the
setting has always been sort of nebulous).
The characters include Elf #1, Dwarf Fighter, Human Monk, Human
Cleric of Mitra, Elf #2, and a Half-Orc Fighter. The Elf #1 and the Dwarf each
have war-dogs (which are positively lethal and totally worth the XP cost). Levels
range from 2nd
I’m back in the rotation as LL, and this time up I decided
to run Castle Xyntillan
(read my review here
The first session was last Wednesday; we play every other
SPOILERS FOR CASTLE XYNTILLAN BELOW!!!
Here’s the general rundown of the session:
Session starts with the characters in Tours-en-Savoy. They
are en route to the warmer southern lands to enjoy the loot they gained on their
last adventure (a substantial treasure, such that they could retire should they
so choose). However, a few of the poorer members of the group heard rumors
about Castle Xyntillan and the wealth to be found there and convinced some of
the others to join them in searching for the wealth said to be hidden within.
[My characters, a Halfling Thief and a Human Cleric of Mitra, remained behind
to guard the banked wealth of the group and look out for their interests in the
event of disaster].
En route from Tours-en-Savoy to Castle Xyntillan they encountered
their first Malevol – Gilbert Malevol the Fox and his pack of bandits. After
some negotiation (and realizing they had left too much of their treasure back
in the town), they finally got him to accept 10 gp in “tax” per person. He
wished them well and invited them to visit again on the way back, “should they
survive that stinking ruined pile” they were determined to explore.
This is the group that decided, when exploring the Caves of
Chaos, to forgo exploring the first caves and shot right for the last; they
remained true to their style in this adventure, as well… and after scouting out
the castle and consulting the map they had found (I printed out the player’s
map available from the website), they decided to approach the castle from the
They walked along the rocks at the base of the castle along
the lake shore, until they came to a point beneath the chapel where there were
no more rocks… and only a cavern tunnel that went deep under the castle. The
monk swam to the boat tied at the quay, and brought it back, and so everyone
rowed to the quay and thence up the stairs to the garden.
There, while investigating the statue of the Lady, they were
attacked by three goatrices (goat-headed cockatrices) – the first time this
crew had been truly frightened since their encounter with the medusa in the Chapel
of Evil Chaos in the Caves of Chaos. However, they handily defeated two of the
creatures, and the third fled into the brush, to bleat at them angrily.
They found that the statue could be moved side to reveal a pit
with a ladder going down. Down they went, of course, carefully with lots of rope,
which was good, because below the pit was bottomless (if covered by a rusting
They attained the room of the pit, then went exploring the
tunnels down the single corridor. They found a long corridor filled with doors.
The first one they opened revealed a room with a coffin on a bier, gargoyles in
the four corners, and bats coating the ceiling.
“Oh, hell no!” they cried, not at all interested in battling
what was obviously a vampire; they quickly closed the door and decided to head
back up the ladder to investigate the chapel, which had given the cleric of
Mitra a “good feeling.”
They remained unmolested in the garden (bleating from the
surviving goatrice from the brush notwithstanding), and quickly made their way
to and into the chapel, which I described as magically lit in a bright, cheery
light. They noted a font of holy water for later use and saw the pure white
shroud on the altar (“A trap?” they ask; “I shall pray on it,” said the
While he prayed on the matter, the others went up the stairs
to investigate the second level.
There they found first a room once used as a sleeping
chamber for the priest and acolytes (the “otherwise un-described “mass of rats,”
which I forwent in favor of a more dangerous study). Finding only 17 cp in an
old wardrobe, they tried the other room, which unlike the chapel and the
dormitory was not magically lit…
With the lantern light, they saw a desk with chair, some old
shelve with moldy books, a lectern with a black book, and a pentagram circle
made with silver shavings. Fortunately for them, the potential occupant was not
to be found…
Elf #2 found nothing of any value on the table, save perhaps
to astrologers or madmen;
The dwarf nearly got eaten by the rot grub in the rotting
books on the shelves;
The monk determined the black book was seriously bad juju
They discovered that there was something still in the
pentagram circle when the monk passed his glaive over it.
The monk went down to get the cleric’s silver-shod staff to
test out a theory; Elf #2 took the opportunity to grab the black book, of which
he had been warned, and threw it in his loot sack.
The monk returned, noticed the book was missing, and briefly
confronted the Elf, but decided it wasn’t worth the trouble.
He then passed the silver-shod staff over the pentagram circle
area, which resulted in a horrible demonic howl, the appearance of a ghostly
figure of a great horned and winged demon in the circle, and the brief dimming
of the magical light below.
The party was still stunned and contemplating what it all
meant when the cleric appeared from below and shouted, “What in the Nine Hells
is going on up here?”
They told him everything, and when he heard of the book, had
Elf #2 show it to him.
It was revealed to be a Libram of Heinous Damnation
upon hearing that, the Elf dropped it on the ground, and the cleric started
considering what to do with the terrible artifact of Evil and Chaos.
This is when Elf #1, remembering the efficacy of holy water
in previous encounters with Evil and Chaos, decided to splash a whole vial on
the book, just to see what happened.
All Hell broke loose, literally.
The book disappeared in an explosion of fire and sulfur, and a hideous glowing
crack appeared in the space on the floor where it had been. A large, long,
black, scaled, clawed arm reached out and grabbed at Elf #2, who had been the
only one to touch the book.
A general melee ensued, as everyone tried to save Elf #2 from
being dragged to Hell!
After a few scares, the cleric finally touched the arm with
his holy symbol, there was another horrific demonic scream, the arm withdrew,
and the crack in space shut with a snap.
The cleric then filled the group in on what the item was,
and when he revealed that it could have been worth upwards of 15,000 gp "for the inset gems alone," Elf #2 fell to his feet and let out the loudest scream of all…
And that was where we ended the session.