This weekend kicked off a new campaign for some friends and a couple of their kids. I’ve ran the youngins before, but they’ve never really settled in for long term play (and hardly ever got to play with adults other than their parents.)
I’m running using The Lazaro Heresies as our rules set (I actually compiled them for this group!) At the last minute, I decided the campaign would kick off around the AD&D modules The Sentinel and The Gauntlet. I was motivated to use these, as one of the kids told me he’d like to find “a pair of gloves where one is evil and one is good.”
Instead of Greyhawk, though, I’m using the world I ran for a couple years in our 4th Edition D&D campaign. However, I bumped the timeline up 500 years (and a cataclysm) later, so the map is shook up a bit.
Warning: These logs will contain spoilers of the adventure modules.
The players predominantly rolled up casters, so I had everyone already established as an order of adventurers tied to the Laytoc School of Magic in Fellhaven. They are:
- Ysra & Yskul Iceborn: Tiefling siblings who study at the school, members of a prominent Infernal House. Ysra is a talented Wizard, while her brother studies Necromancy. He has a zombie minion named Thibor.
- Nero: A Dragonborn Sorcerer, of black Chromatic heritage. The usurped magic tattooed on his body has mutated him — he had a tentacle for a leg, and a crow’s beak in his neck that caws at inopportune times.
- Ghibli — A Dwarfen Fighter on retainer with the school to assist members on dangerous adventures. He yells “Magic Missile!” every time he swings his axe.
- Zuthrax: A dragonborn Druid and a practicing alchemist.
- Cragon: A young elven thief, who was caught trying to steal magical items from the school. Instead of handing him over to authorities, the school instead decided to make him work off his debt by acting as a scout in the field.
Adventure Log: Session 1
- The Headmaster brings the party together to assign them the task of traveling to Kusnir to help investigate the recent murders of civilians and livestock, as there are troubling reports of “magical script” being written on the walls near the victims. The compensation for handling this matter is access to higher-tier spells in the college library (Ghibli was told he might get a new shield.)
- The party embarked for the day’s journey to Kusnir. At night, they were ambushed by a Werewolf. Nero was able to defend against the initial onslaught, and promptly drove the beast away by a very successful use of his Fear spell.
- Upon arriving in Kusnir, the village elder informed them about how they’ve been dealing with a Skulk who has been terrorizing the town. They were shown the alleyway containing the magical script found next to the latest victim. Yskul cast Read Magic and deciphered the message asking for help against the coming darkness.
- Ysra and Zuthrax tracked markings of the Skulk to the nearby sewers, but decided they didn’t want to get dirty yet. Meanwhile, Yskul and the rest visited a nearby graveyard to examine the grave sites of the victims. Talking to the gravedigger, they learned that a while back some townsfolk raided a Xvart lair. There’s some rumors that the little bastards may not have been cleared out, and that it’s possible it’s them and not the Skulks attacking.
- The party joined back up at the tavern. Everyone was kinda moaning over the idea of checking out the sewers. Yskul brought up the Xvarts, and an overhearing local mentioned that he saw a bloated, blue body floating down the river. They decided to check this out, and in fact they had found a couple Xvart corpses floating off the shores of the riverbed. Zuthrax investigated the cause of death, and determined they had been unnaturally poisoned.
- The party ventured out the next day, following the river upstream to the old Xvart lair. They met no resistance sneaking in past the initial garrison, but upon entering the lair Ysra fell into a pit trap. Injured, she tossed a rope up to Thibor in hopes of climbing up — but the dumb zombie thought her pulling meant he was supposed to fall in the pit, too! Luckily, Ghibli caught him in time and pulled her back up.
- The ruckus of the party alerted a nearby Half-Orc Thief and his pet Mountain Lions. He was busy finishing a trap up on a chest of goods owned by his mother when he heard their approach. He and his pets went into the shadows, and watched as Cragon snuck in and disarmed them trap. The Half-Orc attempted to sneak attack Cragon, but his cover was blown and immediately Cragon tossed his dagger just right to pin his foot to the ground.
- A fight ensued as the others rushed into the pummel on the Half-Orc. One of the mountain lions was quickly dispatched, while the other was ensnared by vines from the Druid. Thibor held the Thief while Ghibli drove his axe into his shoulder, causing him to pass out from the shock.
- Cragon and Zuthrax calmed the entangled Mountain Lion, giving it meat rations and talking it down. He wouldn’t leave his master, but he tolerated the others.
- Cragon went through the contents of the chest. Though the party was happy to see the big bag of money and the spellbook, they were confused by the women’s clothing, the wig and perfume. They all questioned what this Half-Orc was doing with the Mountain Lions.
- Half-Orc was held hostage, woke up to be interrogated. He admitted that he is one of a family of outlaws, his mother an Illusionist and his brothers powerful fighters. They poisoned the food stock of the Xvarts so they could easily raid the lair and overpower them. He admits that most escaped, one Skulk was with them (and killed) but another one with a magical glove fled with the others.
- Loud screech/roar heard down the halls. Party questions him, he tells them that’s his pet “fluffy” and that he’s hungry. Yskul tells Thibor to go check it out, but tells him “If he’s big, just scream. We don’t want you bringing it back in here.”
- Thibor wanders off. Is heard screaming.
- Party walks in to find Thibor mauled in half by “Fluffy”, the pet Owlbear. The pet owlbear who is chained to the freaking wall. Yskul laments the orders he gave Thibor; Nero shuns him.
- Ysra casts Sleep on the Owlbear. Yskul then decides to murder the Half-Orc, and performs a ritual to sew Thibor’s head on their body. Nero thinks Yskul is a monster; Zuthrax is just happy the Owlbear is alive.
- Party isn’t interested in the rest of the lair, decides to head back to town and try to figure out where the Xvarts and the Skulk with the magic glove went.
- On journey back to Kusnir, campsite is ambushed by the Half-Orc Mom and her other sons. They are angry as hell that her son’s head was found next to a sleeping Owlbear.
- Half-Orc Mom cast an illusion that affected most of the party, giving them bad acid trips and making them vomit. Ysra fell in the initial attack. Ghibli was still fine, commenced to ass kicking. Yskul ordered Thibor to tackle/grapple the Mom so there’d be no more illusions cast. Fight was brutal; Nero ended it by belching acid breath on everyone, killing half the brothers.
- Mom surrenders, calls off her surviving sons, but curses the party for killing her family. Ghibli goes on expert tirade lecturing her on shitty parenting skills, horrible choice of pets, and not taking responsibility for her fuck ups. Drives her to tears, tells her next time to get a Hamster before having another child for them to kill.
- Mom strikes deal with party — leave her remaining family alone and allow them to operate out of the old Xvart Lair, and she’d give them a map to the Villa where the Xvarts and the glove-wearing Skulk are at now.[[End Session 1]]
Adventure Log: Session 2
- Party traveled to the Villa where the Xvarts and Skulk were reported to be at. Along the way, ambushed by Tengu bandits (my own encounter idea) who were disguised as human peasants. Nero and Zuthrax dispatched with their breath attacks.
- Cragon intimidated an injured, but surviving Tengu. Acquired a “bag of holding” that the Tengu informs as a verbal “lock”. Tells him the lockword is “abracodabra”.
- Cragon says word, bag immediately erupts with poison powder to his face. Area effect, party overall resists but worn.
- Arrive at the Villa. Cragon picked the locked gates and made his way inside to scout. Was ambushed by Perrytons nesting on the roof. Party rushes in to rescue him.
- Inside, the party explores different wings. Find various books; find the “cenozoic” book and find it weird.
- Party discovers the secret library thanks to Ghibli’s Knock spell (read: Dwarf smash wall). Ambushed by Iron Cobra — Never think to say “cenozoic” and instead the Cobra kinda kicks their ass with bites and choke holds. Cobra “caught” in Bag of Holding.
- They make camp in hidden library. Cragon, on watch, hears stone sliding from the main lobby. Finds Xvart’s coming up from under the “throne”. Yells for the others, begins kicking ass.
- Party comes in, starts clearing out blue assholes. Delve into the hidden entrance to the caves below, slaughter more Xvarts and eventually find the Skulk (and thus, the Sentinel.)
- The Sentinel originally chose Zuthrax to be its bearer (mostly because, out of game, the kid playing Zuthrax told me he wanted to find a sentient glove. Whole reason I ran this damn adventure.) He decides he’s scared of it — Glove chooses Ghibli instead, since he’s the only “pure heart” in the group.
We left our adventurers returning to the magical college, and explaining the Sentinel’s warning of its evil twin — The Gauntlet — and the armies forming under its control.
It has been five months since I first posted this blog! I came back to complete the second half of the adventure log, which I admit feels shoddy. Two major issues arose in our campaign: first, the kids were bored with my rules. The adults loved my cobbled-together version of the Black Hack, but the kids wanted more modern gaming. I don’t fault them — they grew up watching us all play d20 and 4e D&D. They’ve spent the past year obsessed with video games like Skyrim. I even ran these kids through a 5e D&D game last year — I thought it was too much, but they loved having options to choose from. Fair enough.
The second issue is simply my life has been busy with not only school, but now preparing to be a father. Which is a crazy journey in itself!