Monday, September 25, 2017

Monday Recap: Spreading Chaos

If this were a dragon claw, it'd be the perfect picture for this campaign
In a shocking turn of events, my chaotic campaign actually found some time to play! Not shocking because of the players or the game, but shocking because most of us are going to be knee-deep in our gaming convention next week, and people have been crazy-busy preparing for it. I guess this weekend was the lull before the storm.

As such, next week will be some Old News, no Monday Recap. Sadly, as the end of the year approaches, I'll likely be putting out fewer recaps and more stories from my games before this blog existed. Between vacations, holidays, and events, it's hard to run a decent session. I'll be doing my best to put some one-shot adventures into place!

This story is part 2 of a series. The campaign is complete.
Previous Campaign | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 |

Campaign of Chaos: Spreading Chaos

Cast of Characters
Jon: Dungeon Master
Shannon: Cressen Juhl, Fallen Aasimar Trickery Cleric of Ralishaz, hates their dad Pholtus
Cody: Mist, Tabaxi Rogue, likes the shiny and shoots the arrows
Quinn: Jakky, Darkling Shadow Monk, sneaks into places to do a murder
Wade: Agne, Kobold Warlock of the Great Old Ones, killed his family for creepy powers
Wes: Magic Man, Drow Transumation Wizard, kind of creepy, teaches magical life lessons
Guest NPC: Frankie, old skeleton man, temporarily taking over the body of Ilsa, a Yuan-Ti Mystic

The group had just escaped from prison with the help of their wacky new patron and leader, Mr. Lizard. They had been given strange new Chaotic power, as well as some fancy magic items, so they were feeling good about the direction of their employment. Agne also worked on taming his new pet dragon, a creature made entirely of stars and darkness named Artorius.

However, their chaos powers diminished over time, and as they rested in the forests outside Garton, the control they held over their chaos diminished. Mr. Lizard told them that they could easily keep their powers alive by playing fun pranks on each other, and since he had a mission for them, they should do some pranks to make their chaos magic a bit more stable.

(This actually translates to game mechanics pretty well. I'm using the massive chaos effects table to determine the chaos effects, which happen every time they roll a critical hit or someone crit-fails on a save vs their spells. I just replace the first number of the roll with their Chaos Score: 0-3 means the effect will hit themselves, 4-7 means the chaos will affect their target, and 8-9 is just pure AOE chaos. So having a Chaos Score of 5 is much less dangerous than having a Chaos Score of 2. Science!)

The group began their pranks. Mist snuck up on his comrades and scared the crap out of them. Cressen made himself into a duplicate of Jakky and tried to convince him he was seeing double. Jakky cut a hole in Agne's robes, Agne used Artorius's Gravitic Breath to make people fall on their butts, and Magic Man tried to make Agne believe he was dying with illusions. Their efforts met with mixed success, but they had a good time doing it.

Artorius the Abyss Dragon
The group had suitably pranked each other and were feeling good about their chaos magic again. Mr. Lizard told them they were going to be infiltrating the Garton Mage's Guild to find an artifact called the Palace of Infinite Illusion. He said it would help them on their journey, while he prepared a spell that would help another part of the quest. Then, with a clap of his hands, he unceremoniously teleported them into the city.

They appeared in a small waiting room, with an open campus beyond it. Immediately ,an alarm started blaring and a voice said there were intruders present. The magic students in the area ran to their dorms or teleported away is panic, and the group headed into the main building.

They entered a lecture hall where a professor and his assistants were ushering students out of the doors. Agne loudly announced that they weren't the bad guys, which immediately caused the professor and his assistants to draw their wands and advance on the group. Ilsa and Jakky ran down to fight them, Mist disappeared into the seats ringing the hall, and the others prepared their magic. Artorius flew down and attacked with his Gravitic Breath, increasing the force of gravity around the professor.

The assistants turned invisible as the professor blasted Artorius with a Fireball. Thanks to Jakky's blindsight and Agne's Detect Thoughts, the group was able to locate the invisible assistants and make attacks against them. Cressen hit them with Sacred Flame and Magic Man busted out Ray of Frost, slowing down their movements.

Between Mist's arrows, Artorius' bite, and Ilsa's blades, the professor finally went down. The assistants decided to turn tail and run, but Jakky's speed and Mist's arrows caught up to them and put them down. Jakky determined that the professor's most valuable treasures were beyond the lower exit of the lecture hall, so the group headed through the door.

They discovered a study, where Jakky found a treasure chest containing a few healing potions and spell scrolls. Mist found a shelf of wizard liquor, and grabbed as much as he could. After spending (at least 10 minutes of real time) a moment discussing what direction they should go, they decided to (spend another 10 minutes figuring out a staircase) quickly go upstairs and check out the upper floor of the study.

The deadliest riddle of them all
They found a Divination Chamber and an Observatory. A book in the Divination Chamber proposed to tell them their fates, and allowed most of them to read about the next time a certain type of spell would affect them. Cressen refused to read his entry, since Ralishaz was a God of Chaos, and decided to burn the book instead. The others were slightly miffed at him.

In the observatory, they found two maps - one of Garlancia and one of the whole world, Ahneria. The Garlancian map had a circle near the coast and "Anesta destroyed - GIANTS???" was written on it. Meanwhile, the Ahnerian map had an outline of areas that had a known presence of the Black Hand, a secret smuggling and crime network. Agne found a magic telescope, but didn't know what sort of magic it held.

The group pressed forward, entering a long hall with a door at the far end reading "Library". However, they were accosted by a group of City Watch guards! The guards attacked, bolstered by a bard in the back of their group.

Jakky, Ilsa, and Agne ran forward, Agne trying to distract the guards with some false pleading. Mist leapt up onto a decorative gargoyle while Cressen cast Calm Emotions, taking the enemy barbarian out of the fight. Magic Man blasted away at the enemy, and Artorius breathed his Gravitic breath on the bard and rogue in the back.

The guards fell one by one, and when they were all down the group finally noticed a halfling fighter that had been stabbing them this whole time. She went down quickly, and the group immediately forgot about her again.

The party made their way into the library, and searched around for some books. Magic Man found a book that had a spell listed in it, and he grabbed it to copy into his own spellbook later. Mist decided to use his portable hole to take a small bookshelf. Otherwise, they didn't find anything too interesting, so they pressed onward to the next exit, which was labeled "to museum".

The museum turned out to be filled with strange artifacts and magic items, all of which did slightly different things. However, Mist was drawn to the shiniest thing in the room, a miniature model of a Palace in a glass case. Agne studied it with his Detect Magic spell, and the Palace gave off illusion magic while the case gave off evocation magic, meaning it was likely trapped. Remembering that the item they were supposed to find was called the Palace of Infinite Illusion, they proceeded to figure out how to steal the object from within the glass case.
It's only a model
After a few minutes (another 10 minutes of real time...) of discussion, Magic Man turned the base of the case into balsa wood, allowing them to easily break it off without breaking the glass case. However, at that moment, the door behind them froze into a solid sheet of ice, and a skinny Tiefling man with nerdy-looking glasses strode into the room - Mage Guild Headmaster Re'lar! He admonished the group and began to attack them with his powerful magic.

Mist leapt up onto a pillar and rushed along the walls to get a better shot, while Artorius flew forward and bit at Re'lar. Jakky, Ilsa, and Agne rushed forward again, while Cressen and Magic Man hung back and grabbed the Palace.

Re'lar let loose a mighty Lightning Bolt, which dropped Artorius to the ground. Magic Man's Scorching Ray spell did little against Re'lar's natural fire resistance, but Mist got a lucky arrow shot in. Jakky grabbed a magic-looking gauntlet as he ran forward and punched Re'lar with it, unleashing a powerful blast of wind that threw the wizard backwards.

Suddenly, a voice appeared in the group's heads: it was Mr. Lizard, telling them that they would be teleported out in a short moment. Each of them had only seconds to react, and Re'lar had just cast a powerful Ice Storm spell, bringing Magic Man down and making it difficult to move around.

Ilsa used her Rope of Entanglement to tie up Re'lar, and Mist threw his Portable Hole like a frisbee under the Tiefling's feet. Re'lar was halfway in the hole! Cressen healed Artorius, Agne grabbed the Palace and Magic Man, and Jakky did a flying kick to put Re'lar completely in the Portable Hole.

At that moment, they were teleported back to Mr. Lizard's forest hideout. Panting and exhausted, they handed over the Palace, still in its glass case. Mr. Lizard cracked open the case, simply ignoring the trap damage, and grabbed the Palace. He explained that with this, he could create an infinite series of training-gauntlet rooms that would allow the group to gain power quickly and maintain their Chaos control from mission to mission.

Mist also told Mr. Lizard they had captured Re'lar, and brought him out. Re'lar tried to use his magic to send a quick message, but Mr. Lizard stopped it. Re'lar told the group that the King's forces had already been notified of the attack on the Guild, and they didn't have any chance at survival.

Mr. Lizard asked Re'lar if they used to adventure together. Re'lar said yes but seemed confused, as only a few weeks ago, the two of them had saved Garton from destruction. Mr Lizard smiled and said "oh!", and using a finger-gun, blew Re'lar's head off.

The group was pretty shocked by this action. They had expected Re'lar to be a valuable source of information, not to be instantly killed by their boss. However, they didn't have much time to talk about it before Mr. Lizard teleported them again: this time, into the miniature Palace itself. He said to get training, since their next mission would take them to Auraglow, and they needed to be ready.

Finally, he let them draw from the Deck of Many Things again. This time, they drew Comet, which meant they could gain great power from their next victory. As Cressen healed Magic Man, the door to the palace shut, and they prepared for their next mission.

I guess he's not the Headmaster any longer...
That's where we stopped for the night! The players were a blast, as usual they did a bunch of stuff I wasn't expecting.

Particularly, I didn't at all expect them to capture Re'lar and bring him to Mr. Lizard. I was hoping Mr. Lizard's evil side would be more of a slow-burn reveal, but hopefully I can foster some dramatic tension about that scene with these characters, who although evil are certainly not interested in working for someone who would kill them on a whim.

We'll see how it goes!

Thanks for reading!

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