Monday, November 27, 2017

Monday Recap: City in Chaos
It's a magical world, old buddy
It's time for another rip-roaring installment of chaos quest! This game was the first game I ran using exclusively an excel spreadsheet. I think it worked because we didn't really have any major combats. I want this group to think laterally about how to solve their problems, and boy did they. Chaos quest is coming into its own.

One other announcement: we had a smaller-than-expected game this session. One of the players had to unfortunately drop due to scheduling conflicts, and another ended up being on vacation longer than expected. I find that making game that aren't based around combat allows me to be flexible in my prep: I'm not worried my final boss fight will be too powerful.

This story is part 3 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: City in 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
NPC: Artorius, Void Dragon Wyrmling, hangs out with Agne

Alternate title: It's Just a Prank, Bro!

Our chaotic crew had just finished ransacking the mage's guild and taking the Palace of Infinite Illusions, which could create endless rooms and monsters for them to fight. They explored its rooms for a few days, until Mr. Lizard unceremoniously turned the palace sideways and dumped them out of it.

They were in a small stone room, and he explained that he had some things to take care of in the city of Auraglow. Auraglow was a city built around a holy site of Boccob, the God of Magic. Since its inception, it had always been a place where magic users could go for training, buying goods, and even learning forbidden magics. It got its name from a massive glowing sphere that illuminated the city day and night, however, the sphere recently disappeared and has been the subject of recent speculation and theory.

Mr. Lizard opened the door of the stone room and light flooded in. They realized that they were in a mausoleum, in the middle of a park-like graveyard outside the city walls of Auraglow. Mr. Lizard told them to go have fun, cause a bit of chaos, and make sure to bring any new recruits back for chaotic conversion. His task would take a few days.

The first day, they wandered around, bumping into random people and finding those who would be willing to convert. They found a young student named Mackey who was interested in magic, and a hedge wizard named Jinn who needed help stealing the bones of a saint to resurrect his dog. The crew pulled a mission-impossible style heist to get the bones, complete with Cressen lowering Mist down on a rope while Jakky and Agne killed a guard and took his place. They even made the other guards believe their ally had been raptured away, since they left his clothes behind and created an illusion of him floating into the sky.
They also ran into a Dragonborn cleric who looked extremely similar to Mr. Lizard, down to the monocle. Unfortunately for the cleric, their unfamiliarity with Dragonborn lead them to be very suspicious of him, and they ended up stealing his bag of potions. When they asked Mr. Lizard if he knew the cleric, their patron had no idea what they were talking about. He was more than happy to convert Mackey and Jinn, though.

On the second day, the group found out that this Dragonborn cleric, Martin, had a brother named Partin. Cressen disguised himself as Martin and "made amends" with Partin, but then Jakky decided to assassinate Partin via decapitation. It was then the group decided to leave a small card on the body stating "Whoopsie Doodle", which was the beginning of the notorious "Whoopsie Doodle Killer". Later that day, Martin himself showed up, and Cressen disguised himself as Partin to douse his concerns. The crew lead him to an alleyway and killed him as well, leaving another Whoopsie Doodle card. The legend had begun.

They wandered around a bit more. Mist had heard there was a powerful magic item here: an Oathbow. He had Cressen use Locate Object to try to find it, but without luck. Meanwhile, the group saw a patrol of battlemages pass by, and convinced a small child to join their crew because Mr. Lizard requested it. However, he sent the child back after realizing he had made a mistake.

On the third day, the group befriended a hippie-like Bard named Jessie, converted him to chaos, and helped him "prank" an uptight diplomat from the big city of Garton. But instead of pranking him they actually kidnapped him. Then, they knocked him out and left him in an abandoned house with a number of "Whoopsie Doodle" cards, pinning the murders on him. Jessie gave them a cloak in return, a Cloak of Many Fashions that could change its appearance. Jakky put it on over his other cloaks.
The Whoopsie Doodle Killer strikes again!
That night, they decided to look into a mysterious wedding that was happening soon. The bones of the saint were apparently for the ceremony, and the temple had brought in a powerful Priest of Pelor to conduct the marriage. The crew thought of a great prank, involving Agne appearing to the Priest as the ghost of his dead mother and getting him to quit the ceremony. However, the priest got suspicious and started questioning the ghostly form of Agne, which made Mist jump in and try to help, claiming to be "his dead father from a universe where everyone is cat people and also your father died."

Needless to say, that didn't go over great. The Priest summoned a wall of spinning blades and chased the crew from his home. However, they had learned a few things: the wedding would take place tomorrow, and it was between the Headmistress of a local bardic college/orphanage and the new leader of the king's spy network, the Cobblestones. It was sure to be a high-profile wedding, and a perfect place for some serious pranking.

The next day, the group ran into Jessie the Bard again. Jessie lead them to his secret hideout and revealed he was actually an influential Warlock in Auraglow named Elliot Weston, Lord of the Slums. He wanted to know more about this strange chaos power he'd been given, which had caused his clothing to turn to porcelain that morning.

The Chaos crew were quite amenable to Elliot, especially after he told them they would likely be able to find the Oathbow at the home of Humphrey Stempleburgess. He did want to do a little more research on Mr. Lizard before he threw his hat in the ring of chaos, and the party agreed - they were still a little suspicious of their sudden employer as well.

They still had some time before the wedding, so the group decided to scope out the Stempleburgess manor. There was a small gala happening, so they put disguises on. Cressen appeared as a matronly magic item collector, Agne used magic to disguise himself as her halfling servant, and Jakky used the Cloak of Many Fashions to look like a sad little dog. They called him "Blanket". Meanwhile, Mist used his stealthiness to snag some invitations.
Agne as Halfling. Disguise self isn't perfect!
Cressen and Agne staged a small distraction at the front gate while Mist lifted the invitations. However, they both did so well that they felt Chaos magic spark within them, and the gate guard suddenly had their clothes frayed and covered in soot like they had been struck by lightning. They were fine, for now - Cressen knew that his chaos surge had caused the guard to be a lightning rod for the next 11 days. Hopefully there wouldn't be any storms soon.

The crew explored the manor a bit, distracting Humphrey while Mist made off with a music-producing Wand of Conducting. Once he gave Agne the signal, Cressen made an excuse for the group and they left before the theft could be discovered. They resolved to come back the next day and take the Oathbow, since Mr. Lizard had told them they might not have much more time in town.

That night, they went to the Temple of Boccob, where the wedding of the Headmistress and the Spymaster was to take place. Jakky snuck in and disguised himself as the alter rug, right where the priest of Pelor would stand. Mist and Agne infiltrated the side room where the food and gifts were kept, and Cressen sent his illusory double in to mingle with the crowd while disguised as Humphrey Stempleburgess.

Just as the ceremony was completing, they sprung their plan. Jakky pulled the rug out from under the priest, Agne spiked the punch with a Potion of Fire Breath and unleashed a cloud of insects on the food, and he and Mist shoved the entire gift table into their portable hole. Cressen's double lifted the Wand of Conducting and started blasting inappropriate music. The place devolved into chaos!
Come on, grab the presents and run!

The Spymaster of the Cobblestones, a female Tiefling in a big poofy white dress and purple hair, ripped the bottom of her dress off to reveal a dozen blades, and glared around menacingly for the culprits. Her partner, the Headmistress of the Bardic College, however, cast True Seeing and looked around. Having ascertained the situation, she smiled and just said, "Nice!" She then calmed down her murderous bride.

The crew made a dash for it, fleeing the party in an awesome still-frame chase scene with wedding guards tailing them. They made it all the way back to Mr. Lizard, who was finishing up his plan. He said their ride was coming soon, so they should be ready to go at a moment's notice. The group agreed - they were used to having a chaotic escape plan. Mist found a cool Sickle of Poison among the wedding gifts and gave it to Jakky.

The next day, they went to Humphrey Stempleburgess's new gala. Since his gala yesterday had been ruined by the disappearance of the Wand of Conducting, and people were suspicious of his "appearance" at the wedding, he was throwing one of his infamous all-day galas, this time with two magic items: a Cloak of Billowing and a secret surprise item. Mist assumed this must be the Oathbow.

The group donned their disguises and joined the party once again. They loitered around the same ballroom, but this time the magic items were under better care: they were out in the open and under guard, so Mist couldn't simply steal them. The group needed to find a way to get them out of the public eye.

Cressen and Agne came up with a plan: put on a show that would distract the crowd away from the items. Jakky, skilled at acrobatics, would be "Blanket the Wonder Dog" and do flips for the audience's amusement. Meanwhile, Agne could orate the performance. Cressen, using his magic item collector disguise, set up the performance.
Simply beautiful
The performance was wonderful, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house as Blanket the Wonder Dog performed his tricks. Meanwhile, Mist killed the item guard and searched the Oathbow's box: empty! It was just for show! Frustrated, he grabbed the Cloak of Billowing and made off with it in a dramatic fashion.

Agne and Cressen looked aghast as Mist dashed away. He ducked down hallways and through rooms, crashed out a window, and climbed to the roof, but he just couldn't shake the guards. Finally, he leapt from the roof into the topiary surrounding the manor, and managed to hide from the guards. He had the cloak, but now he was pinned down in the shrubbery.

Meanwhile, the gala resumed. Humphrey was nervous, and after a light luncheon he pulled out his trump card to ensure the gala's success: the Oathbow! It was black and covered in skulls and flames, obviously a drow design. From the window, Mist was salivating.

Cressen used his illusory double and his disguise skills to make it look like Mist had returned to the party and ran out into the center of the room. Meanwhile, the real Mist snuck in, grabbed the bow, and left under cover of locust swarm a la Agne. The heist complete, the rest of the crew excused themselves.

The group decided to take one last walk around the city, knowing they would be leaving soon. As they did, someone called out "It's them! The ruffians that kidnapped me and pinned those murders on me!" It was the diplomat from Garton!

Suddenly people started coming forward! Humphrey was there, fuming. The guards of the saint's bones and the Priest of Pelor, the city watch, even the elite guards: the Battlemages! The crew was surrounded! Agne was more surprised that this hadn't happened before now.

Suddenly, a small hooded figure holding a basket of flowers motioned to them: this way! Agne released a swarm of insects from his staff, and the group fled down an alleyway with the figure.

When they were finally safe, the hooded figure revealed herself to be a young tiefling girl. She said her name was Pity. (This is a beloved NPC from our previous campaign! I was pretty sure the crew wouldn't harm her) She said she hated to see people get hurt and had somehow knew she needed to help. The crew was thankful, and took a couple flowers she offered them.
Do not hurt the Pity
Their mission complete, the crew headed back to Mr. Lizard's mausoleum base, though he wasn't there at the moment. Mist and Jakky tried out their cool new weapons, Agne watched a storm rolling in (particularly noting the lightning strikes hitting one spot over and over), and Cressen used the Cloak of Billowing and the Wand of Conducting to take his brooding to a whole new level.

Suddenly, Mr. Lizard came running back to the group, with Magic Man and Ilsa in tow. "Time to go!!" He had with him a pitch-black sphere being controlled by a talisman that featured a grinning devil face.

He pointed out over the city and the group could see these thin black ropes reaching down from the clouds to the ground. "That's our ride!" The group looked mortified. It was raining heavily, and lightning still cracked through the sky.

Mr. Lizard and the crew rushed into the city. As they did, wizards and spellcasters of all stripes were pouring out of their homes and schools to defend themselves against some unknown threat. Also, three people were pursuing them: a half-orc fighter, a half-elf wizard, and a young human thief. Mr. Lizard shot a blast back that obliterated the young thief, and the crew managed to shake their pursuers.

Up close, the crew realized that those black ropes were actually massive chains, with links as big as Agne. Mr. Lizard told them to climb up, and as they did, they saw the apparent destruction that had covered the city. The Dragonborn Embassy, the Stempleburgess Manor, and the Temple of Boccob were all in ruins. From their vantage point, they saw the dark outlines of the creatures responsible: massive, centaur-ian monsters whose thick grey hides were briefly illuminated by the flash of spell light the wizards were using to fight them.

They climbed and climbed, further from the destruction, until the city was no more than a distant garden below them, albeit a garden that was on fire. Finally, they reached the top of the chains, and poked their heads through a layer of thick clouds. Above them, the moon shone down through the clear night sky. In the distance, they saw a massive domed fortress with a golden antennae affixed to its peak.

Mr. Lizard smiled at them. "Auraglow was a good test run. See that fortress over there? Now that's where we really are going to spread some chaos!"
Hello, hello, welcome to my Skyfortress
We stopped there for the evening. This was a great session - the players were hilarious, and we came up with so many good jokes that I'm sure will be references later on. The guy who was struck by lightning a lot was probably my favorite.

Also, I want to again mention that one of my players, Shannon, put together some of the artwork I used for this article. I am planning on talking to her about some commissions for our games, particularly if I can get cool character art that's customized for the groups. Finding art online is fine, but getting exact character art is better!

Thanks for reading!

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