So my D&D group met for the first time in two weeks on Sunday to continue our adventure into the Dungeon of the Mad Mage. I had gone to Indigo the night before to buy some of the monster cards so I wouldn’t have to flip through the MM (Monster Manual) every single encounter (didn’t really help), but it did give me some cool ideas, more on that later. This is going to be a story of betrayal and addiction but first, let me take you back to how it all started…
So there I was standing in Indigo waiting for Bloodshot to start in VIP (It’s a great action film) and I’m just perusing the shelves for stuff to buy. I physically cannot go into a bookstore without buying something, it’s a real problem for me and my wallet… but I digress. So i have my coffee and Children of Ruin in my hands as I’m helping my mother find some more Longmire books for my dad, he really likes mysteries. I casually mention that I wonder if they have stuff for D&D. A young employee was walking by and heard me say that and stopped in her tracks, motioned for me to come with her and walked me over to their gaming section. We chatted for a bit and she pointed me to the Monster cards for levels 6-16 because she said they really helped her DM when making things on the fly. So i grabbed a box of those and after trying to find a cover for my Kobo (they didn’t have any in store) went to the cash register to pay.
As I was paying for the stuff the young employee began asking me about my adventure and what I was putting my players through. When I told her she said that her DM has sent them against a Planetar (more on that later) and it was quite the fight. So with that in mind, I thanked her for her help and dropped the purchases in my car before heading into the movie.
So the session started off with a nice recap of the shit storm that befell them last session in which my Ghost Rider NPC had to save the crew from an Ancient Red Dragon. Lots of Driders and spiders were messing with the party last session. With the recap fresh in everyone’s minds, the players started through the halls of the dungeon. As they wound through the halls they entered a room that had a large statue that teleported you to another statue on the floor. They decided to use the statues and as the party was going through the teleportation spell malfunctioned trapping the gnome ranger in limbo. The party resolved to find the little guy and set off through the rest of the dungeon until they came upon a room with two sets of large double doors. These doors were guarded by 4 Drow warriors equipped with long bows and rapiers and they attacked on sight. The wizard chucked a Fireball into the room right before the rogue ran in and tried his Thunderwave. Having spent his entire movement for the turn the rogue was stuck in the room and the enemy all shot at him. He managed to dodge a couple but two of the arrows hit hard dropping him to under half health. One of the Drow managed a double crit on the Bard, which is normally an instant kill, but I kept her alive without death saves because I like the bagpiping seagull.
As the rest of the party maneuvered into the room to get in on the action, 4 phase spiders blinked in and attacked the rogue and wizard before disappearing. The wizard looked up and cast another fireball on the webbed ceiling that the phase spiders were using the move in and out of the ethereal planes causing them to get stranded in the plane with the party. The party made short work of them and the remaining Drow with some well placed spells from the Cleric and Bard and some choice strikes from the rest of the party.
As they decided to head East into the next room, they entered a massive dining room complete with an ornate table carved with reliefs of spiders and their webs. Laying on the middle of the table unconscious was the gnome ranger. As the party tried to wake him they discovered he was surrounded by a barrier. They tried and tried to get through to no avail. The Bard tried to dimension door the gnome out and it failed. They then tried dropping the chandelier on the table to break the table and drag the little guy out through the rubble, but the chandelier stopped before crashing into the table. As they pondered what to do the Cleric could hear a voice speaking to her and she could feel a familiarity ion the magic of the room. Despite the decor and the enemies they face, the magic was pure and good. As she communicated with a being that was holding the barrier around the ranger, a Planetar materialized in the corner of the room hovering as his massive wings kept him afloat. He explained that he had plucked the gnome ranger from the “space between planes” to save him from his Lord that he is bound to serve.
A Planetar is this…
Looks like a big Archangel. Any who back to the adventure….
As the Planetar revealed himself the party noticed that he was bound to someone through an enchanted collar around his neck which was inscribed with red lettering. Through the conversation they came to learn that the angel was captured and bound to a specific demon lord. He is the one who is making the things on this level happen and his Planetar has been roaming the halls to ensure his will is done. The cleric conversed with the angel to try and find a way that the party could help. But with the Planetar bound to an unknown Demon Lord, they either needed a fully functioning Shardblade or some powerful magic. The wizard then mentioned that they have a Dragon Orb which they acquired from an ancient red dragon. The Planetar was amazed and then the monk revealed he had shattered the Green Orb several weeks before to save the Elven kingdom. Naturally, the Angel was NOT impressed about this because shattering the orb meant the armies of the Green Dragon were released into the world. This was confirmed by the party admitting that once they had shattered the orb they saw dragons falling through the night sky to the ground.
The Planetar stated that while he would welcome the assistance from the group, and would assist them on this level of the dungeon, the rogue and the monk had things to answer for. The party turned to the two of them and the monk promptly apologized while the rogue refused to admit he had done wrong. He further stated that if the bond was broken they would need to face their punishment. This is where shit hit the fan for the party…
Threats were thrown back and forth by the monk, rogue and wizard with some healthy additions by other members until finally the wizard took action and attacked them. The wizard threw a lightning bolt at the rogue while also simultaneously threatening the monk with one of his own. The rogue managed to dodge the majority of the bolt while grabbing the dragon orb from the wooden donkey, Otis, and trying to bludgeon the wizard with it while the Monk prepared to attack the wizard as well. As the rogue missed the wizard, the orb fell out of the burlap sack it was being carried in and rolled across the ground. Now, because the orb was just sitting there not actively being used, I took this time to introduce a mechanic that I’ve been toying with for a while. I had each player make a wisdom save against the pull of the orb, basically trying to stop the mental domination. Everyone except the cleric failed the save, making them thralls to the orb. Their only objective was to get the orb and receive the power it was promising them. The cleric boosted her AC (armour class) by 2 points and took up a protective stance over the orb while covering it with her cloak. As the orb was covered, the effect subsided and the party returned to normal. The wizard cast a wall of force between the party and himself and the cleric to give the domination time to dissipate.
The rogue was still a little cross from the attack and tried to levitate the cleric off the orb so he could snag it. His spell failed and he managed to lift the table up smacking himself in the chin and staggering himself.
The Monk drew the piece of the Shardblade they had and jumped to strike the back of the collar on the angel. The monk’s hand slid down the shard and he lost two fingers but managed to make a crack in the collar. The ranger, not wanting to get involved on one side or the other retreated to the far side of the room and drew his bow while the bard and cleric stood with the wizard against the rogue.
With the rogue staggered, the orb called to the wizard saying that “… if he took the orb and opened himself up to its magic, it would make him powerful beyond all comprehension”. The wizard then used his magic to become invisible and swiped the orb from the clerics cloak.
He grabbed the orb and the minute he touched the orb with his hand, he needed to pass a DC 25 Wisdom save or be mentally dominated. He promptly failed and the orb took control. He was under the complete control of the orb forcing him to become a conduit for its will. His face changed into a skeletal mask of terror and he let out a blood curdling shriek as he was frozen in this state of terror. The orb opened a portal on the ceiling through which two young red dragons descended.
Back on the other side of the room…
The Angel who took the neck attack from the monk was understandably angry and used some radiant light to lightly toast the monk to a crispy golden shine, the fighter began moving towards the monk to assist him in fighting the angel if necessary. After some debating the monk convinced the angel to let him try while the fighter agreed the monk was having a effect on the collar. The monk took two more swipes with the shard piece and managed the destroy the collar while the rest of the party prepared to fight the dragons.
Back in the thick of it…
The Cleric was able to banish one of the red dragons while the angel took care of the other one with his flaming sword. As the dragon was felled by the angel it looked at the rogue and smashed the table floating in the air asking if the rogue was ready to face its punishment. The rogue decided to run from the angel but still tried to mess with the party before booking it out and was clotheslined by the bard. As he ran out of the room and was hit by the Bard, he cast his spell, Ray of Enfeeblement, on the seagull looking minstrel. The bard took it in stride and managed to drop the rogue and leave him to be healed at a later time after the rogue had summoned a new familiar.
The Planetar told the monk, as he engaged with the other red dragon, to close the portal. The fighter looked at the situation and decided on his course of action, sever the wizard’s hand. He hefted his greataxe and ventured over to the wizard who’s face is frozen open in a silent scream; and using his two headed great axe, severed the wizard’s hand from his body. The wizard fell back to the ground cradling his stump of an arm while the orb remained suspended in the air, his severed hand still touching the cool crystal surface. The cleric was still concentrating on banishing the young Dragon when two red Wyverns descended through the portal. In his strike, the fighter managed to sever the hand but his momentum carried through against the orb and his axehead was shattered. As the fighter stared at his shattered greataxe of cold, the monk charged forward and used the shard piece to pry the severed hand of the wizard off the orb. As he managed to pry the hand off the crystal ball the fighter lunged forward with his open backpack and caught the orb as it fell to the ground, securing it firmly in his pack.
The Planetar and the rest of the party managed to dispatch the two wyverns without any issue. As the portal closed and the wyverns were dealt with, the Planetar thanked the party for their help and healed both the monk’s severed fingers and the wizard’s severed hand. The Planetar then departed in a brilliant flash of light and left the party alone with the consequences of their actions.
The bard went over and healed the rogue while still managing to scold him. The party took a long rest and healed from their wounds, but I don’t know how the party will function given the rampant betrayals and backstabbings that occurred over the orb, which is still in their possession…
The party left the session with some obvious tension given how the adventure played out on Sunday and now i’m quite intrigued how they’re going to move forward. Will they let bygones be bygones? or will they splinter into factions and alliances like a season of Survivor? I don’t know, and I am quite excited to find out! Things have been set into motion, the bell can’t be un-rung…
Also shout out to my players who, may mock my writing about their adventure some days, still make a big deal of “We’re going to be on the internet!”
See you next time!