A Plague of Shadows

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ArcticFox
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A Plague of Shadows

Postby ArcticFox » Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:43 pm

So the new campaign we started on Friday is my first homebrew campaign for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. I wanted to playtest it in order to get it ready, as I'll be running a D&D game at BFGCon this year.

I dunno if people would really be interested in the details, but I'm gonna post a campaign log here as part of my efforts to get feedback to help me tune my campaign for the convention. Later, I intend to try to get this campaign published if all goes really well.

The players (Not real names, for privacy's sake):

(I forgot to write down the character's names, but will use the player names for now.)

Terry, playing an Elvish Paladin of Pelor who has fallen from grace but seeks to redeem himself in the eyes of his goddess (In my campaign world, Pelor is female.)
Jeff, playing a Half-orc Barbarian.
Donna, playing a Plains Elf Cleric/Sorceress
Kyle, playing an Sea Elf Eldritch Knight Fighter
Tony, playing an Elvish Cleric of Odin

All characters were created at 5th Level.

The story began in the Adventurer's Guild Hall in the town of Crystal Falls, located in the northern reach of the Kingdom of Saltara, in the Southern most tip of the Dragonback mountain range. (For anyone reading this who played in our online campaign, that's about 200 miles east by northeast of where you were!) Word reaches the guild hall of a sudden and strict quarantine imposed upon the compound of the merchant Jules the Fair, whose household and staff have come down with a severe and virulent plague.

The adventurers head over to the compound to investigate, where they have found several priestesses of Freya doing what they can to administer to those inside, such as bringing food and conveying messages. They have already used their spells to cure disease on as many as they could, but are still badly short staffed for the number of afflicted. The adventurers use their own cure spells to help as many as possible but still, there are far too many within.

Wishing to gain more information, they ask the City Watch to help them get in direct communication with the merchant, Jules. A wooden stand is hastily set up with a bell, near one of the walls of the merchant's compound where there's a relatively close building. They are able to converse directly with Jules, who refuses to accept any curative magic for himself until his family and staff have been seen to. This, even after he begins exhibiting the early symptoms of plague. The adventurers learn that the plague came in from a trade caravan that had come from a small hamlet called Lentz' Landing, about a day's travel north. Unfortunately, that same caravan has already headed south, and is bound for the much more populous central region of Saltara.

Wasting no time, the adventurers mount their horses and head south to stop the caravan before it can infect any other towns. They catch up to it, about half a day's journey away, to find every last member of the caravan has died, and their remains are being eaten by creatures that appear to be ghouls, but are not, in fact, undead. After a battle with the creatures, two of the adventurers have contracted the plague. Fortunately, one of the clerics had kept two spells in reserve, and is able to cure both members, after watching them for a few hours to learn more about how quickly symptoms begin to appear. The results are disturbing.

The remains of the caravan are burned, and the adventurers made camp. In the morning, they returned to Crystal Falls to find that most of those in the merchant's compound have died, and Jules himself is gravely ill. The adventurers insisted that he be brought to the gate so they can cure him, as he is no longer able to protest. Curative spells are cast, and Jules, along with his immediate family, are cured of the plague and taken to the Temple of Freya to recover along with the others who had been saved. Sadly, the plague has now killed nearly all who were within the compound.

The Paladin wants to go into the compound to try and cure more, himself being immune to disease, but the City Watch is under very strict orders. He travels to the castle of Lord Kriose, who is the lord over the city to ask permission. Upon arriving, he finds that Lord Kriose is merely a 12 year old boy, who finds Paladins and their warhorses fascinating, and agrees to allow him in. Meanwhile, the Cleric of Odin travels to the Temple of Odin to get more help, only to find the curates within bickering and arguing, not helping. He gives a stirring speech, and convinces them to send aid.

The Paladin enters the compound and is only able to save two more before they were claimed by the plague. The adventurers return to Kriose's castle to find that the 12-year-old boy was only a disguise, that Lord Kriose is, in fact, a grown man who uses the disguise as a way of testing those who entreat him for aid. He agrees to provide whatever assistance to the adventurers he can, and they head north to Lentz' Landing to back track the caravan.

After a day's journey north, the adventurers find Lentz' Landing, a small village with a river crossing. The village is completely depopulated, but a large group of ghouls drive the adventurers into the empty inn where they fight a pitched battle against the creatures. They are victorious, and the next morning they investigate further to find the roofs of several structures near the plaza at the center of the village to have been damaged by some sort of large creature having used them as a perch. The well in the center of the plaza is coated with a layer of thin, dry mucus, and the water within emits a terrible stench. What sort of creature caused this? They look skyward, and in the distance, see a very large rocky outcropping, jutting at a steep angle skyward. The peak is enveloped in a thick, green fog. Is is there they shall go.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

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J.K. Riki
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Re: A Plague of Shadows

Postby J.K. Riki » Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:52 pm

Sounds like fun! I love a good game of DnD. Hope your players end up going where you plan for - mine never did. :P

Enjoy!

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ArcticFox
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Re: A Plague of Shadows

Postby ArcticFox » Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:32 pm

Sounds like fun! I love a good game of DnD. Hope your players end up going where you plan for - mine never did. :P

Enjoy!
haha thanks!

Actually, the secret to getting the players to go where you want them to is to actually give a little bit of room so you can gently direct the story back. For instance, I never planned for them to go to the Temple of Odin or to the Castle of Lord Kriose, but by letting them do it I could have the people there suggest the party take the actions I had planned for, and since Kriose was likeable, they were disposed to take his advice.

There's nothing wrong with railroading the game, as long as the players don't realize you're doing it :P
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

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Sstavix
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Re: A Plague of Shadows

Postby Sstavix » Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:25 pm

I always enjoy your gaming stories. Keep us informed, please! :)

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ArcticFox
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Re: A Plague of Shadows

Postby ArcticFox » Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:49 pm

I always enjoy your gaming stories. Keep us informed, please! :)
Brozilla! Long time no see!
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

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Sstavix
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Posts: 2934
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:47 am
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Location: Idaho!

Re: A Plague of Shadows

Postby Sstavix » Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:45 am

I've been around. Just busy. I'm hoping things will calm down enough that I can be around more frequently.

But this is your spotlight. Carry on. :)

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ArcticFox
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Re: A Plague of Shadows

Postby ArcticFox » Sat Jan 19, 2019 4:44 am

A new player joined us tonight, but the party was still 5 members strong, as one player was working and couldn't be here. The new player had a half-orc Paladin.

The party left Lentz' Landing for the misty crag, about two day's journey through the mountains. Along the way, they met a dryad who offered them some information about the crag in exchange for a kiss form the Cleric of Odin, who obliged her and fell charmed. It seems there was a tunnel that led through the rock to the peak, and was the only way to reach the summit. The party continued, and as they settled in to camp for the night, they encountered a small group of faerie dragons, who taunted them mercilessly but in good fun over their failed efforts to hunt down some dinner.

The next morning, the faerie dragons led them to the tunnel entrance, and the party started the long, arduous climb up the tunnel to the peak of the crag. The barbarian led the way, which was good because halfway up the tunnel they encountered giant spiders that nearly ended the brave warrior, but he defeated them and they continued, pausing only at an alcove containing the remains of a previous adventurer who had fallen in this tunnel a few weeks earlier. They gathered his belongings.

At the top of the tunnel, they discovered a wyvern, magically enhanced with a breath weapon that spread the plague. They battled the creature and slew it, and discovered a glyph branded into its flank.

They cut the brand off, and returned to Crystal Falls where they returned the personal effects of the fallen adventurer to his family and once again met with Lord Kriose. He directed them to the library, where a young scribe identified the glyph as the mark of an exiled wizard who had presented the king with a plan for a massive army of thralls - undead who were not dead, taken as conscripts to be used as perfect soldiers. The king, disgusted, had exiled this wizard to the northern reaches of the kingdom. It was now clear where all these warm ghouls had been coming from.

She provided them with an ancient map that showed the location of an abandoned fortress, where this evil wizard is believed to have made his lair. The party now prepares to seek him out and confront him.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens


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