Monday, July 2, 2018

Monday Recap: Chaos Comes to Garton

Also giant robots. Don't ask.
We finally got back into that good old chaotic swing again. And things went... interestingly. As usual.

I also had my second Valley of the Lords game this weekend, so check below for a short recap of that as well. Scroll down!

This story is part 6 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: Chaos Comes to Garton

Cast of Characters
Jon: Dungeon Master
Shannon: Cressen Juhl, Fallen Aasimar Trickery Cleric of Ralishaz, hates their dad Pholtus
Cody: Myst, 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
Cait: Anna, Human Brute Fighter, pretty ditzy but very strong and interested in chaos
NPC: ArtoriusVoid Dragon Wyrmling, hangs out with Agne

When we last left the self-proclaimed "Oopsie-Doodle Crew", they had just finished clearing out a skyfortress for their personal use. Their leader, Mr. Lizard the Chaos Wizard, had discovered a massive controllable suit of armor (is it basically a mech? Yes) and declared the group was heading to the big city of Garton in order to cause chaos on an even bigger scope.

To amuse themselves while they traveled, the crew took to playing pranks on each other in the name of chaos. They made Lucy, their "pet" sharkephant, drink hallucinogenic beer and wander around in a daze. Myst gave Magic Man a hug, and it turned out Magic Man was allergic to True Love and it made him swell up terribly. Jakky tricked Agne into drinking his urine, which Agne shrugged off with a vow for revenge later.

They arrived in the skies above Garton just as the sun was setting, allowing Jakky to move freely without his cloaks. He decided to keep them, however, just so he wouldn't explode accidentally. Below them, the largest trade city on the western half of the continent glittered like a jewel, alight with torches and still bustling with people.

Mr. Lizard jumped in his monstrous suit of armor and grinned. He quickly gave the group a list of suggestions to creating the most possible chaos, including a tip to pick up some lackeys while they were down there (it worked for him, after all). He cast Fly on Myst and Jakky before jumping off the cloud platform surrounding the skyfortress.

Agne, Artorius, Lucy, and Mr. Lizard's Demon Elf Archer friend decided to head to one part of the city, while Cressen, Jakky, and Myst went the other way. They decided that if they wanted to reunite, they would just follow the trail of chaos. Magic Man, still swollen from Myst's hug, stayed back to watch the fortress.

Cressen, Jakky, and Myst swooped down above the royal palace, where they could cause plenty of chaos by taking out the king. Myst wanted to explode the palace, so he had brought the most explosive-looking thing he could pry off the wall of the skyfortress in his Portable Hole. Together, the three of them unloaded it and dropped it onto the palace roof. It sat there for just a moment, before exploding and blowing a large hole in the building.

This got the attention of a human walking nearby, a strong fighter dressed in a bunny leotard and heavy armor named Anna. Anna was looking for something interesting and fun to do, and she thought this explosion would probably be cool to check out. She used her magic sword to cut a hole in the palace walls, letting herself in, and proceeded to find the three figures who had now entered the palace.

Anna: proving the effectiveness of chainmail bikinis
Meanwhile, those three figures had made their way to the King's chambers, using Jakky's instincts about the layout of palaces from all of his previous heists. The door was locked, of course, but just as they were about to open it, Anna came running down the hallway with a bunch of palace guards in tow. The group decided to take care of the approaching danger before checking out the door.

Fortunately, the palace guards were no match for them, and the group decided to have a bit of fun. By design or by chaos magic, they stumbled upon the Hallway of Teleporting Doors (and Band Practice space) and proceeded to have a zany chase sequence in and out of doors while groovy music played (for reference). The only thing keeping the situation from being cartoonish was the wanton slaughter of the king's guards.

After the slaughter had ceased, they returned to the locked door and popped it open to reveal a magically blank wall. They could pass through it, but light and sound could not. The group cautiously pressed forward, passing through the barrier.

Inside, they saw a finely-decorated room that served as chambers and safe house for the King of Garton. Sure enough, the King was there, guarded by a tiefling woman dressed in dark leather and carrying daggers, and sitting next to a small girl who had her eyes closed. The girl and the King were surrounded by a magical field of force. The group immediately recognized the tiefling woman - they had disrupted her wedding only a week or so ago.

The tiefling was quite upset about the matter, especially with Cressen. She asked them why they were there, and Myst deflected the question by pulling one of her wedding gifts out of his portable hole. As expected, this only served to irk the woman more, and she drew blades against the group.

The party had only just drawn their swords when she rushed forward, blades drawn, and stabbed Cressen deep into his side. Not only were the blades fast and accurate, they were poisoned! One glimpse of seeing the tiefling move and fight made the group decide to perform a hasty retreat. They rushed back out of the room and into the hallway, watching the door close behind them.

Anyone want to die today?
Back out in the hallway, the group decided to make due by picking out some of the beat-up guards as lackeys. Anna found a guy who seemed interested in her physically, and Myst located Chet, who was basically the worst at being chaotic. He sometimes waited to pay his taxes until the last minute. Jakky found a good chaos candidate, but immediately killed him on a whim. That's chaos.

The group tried to find the palace treasury, but instead found a huge vault containing fancy clothing. Such items were worth quite a bit of money anyway, and the party scooped them into Myst's portable hole. They kept the choicest pieces for themselves, and left the palace decked out in fine garb.

Outside, they saw Mr. Lizard destroying buildings in his huge armor suit. There was no sign of the others, but surely chaos was abound. The screams of citizens could be heard across the city.

Myst insisted they check out the famous Garton Thieves' Guild next, and fortunately Anna knew a passage into the fabled undercity. After journeying through a sewer grate and down a wooden elevator-like contraption, they arrived at the tower housing the Thieves' Guild. The thieves there surprised to see such well-dressed guests arriving in the sewers while chaos was erupting above ground.

The guards of the tower said their leader, Romero Calabra, had retreated to the Guild sanctuary and ordered the commoners in the undercity to remain in their homes until the chaos had passed. If the crew wanted to meet him and convert him to their cause, they'd have to travel through the elite thieves' guild gauntlet, a maze of traps that protected the sanctuary. With little else to try, the crew agreed.

They passed through the tower and entered the tunnels beneath the undercity, built on the remains of a deep dwarvish mine thousands of years ago. Cressen used his divine magic to locate traps throughout the hallway, making the first couple of challenges nearly obsolete. Myst was able to easily dodge the crossbow bolts and whirling scythes, and his allies just sat in his portable hole while he maneuvered through the obstacles.

Like this, but one of them has a half-angel and a half-naked fighter in their pocket
They reached the final trap, which was a huge corridor of whirling blades, smashing pillars, and a magic rune that was too long for Myst to dash through. The group got out of the portable hole and pressed forward individually, trying to reach the end of the hall. Myst, Cressen, and Anna attacked the whirling blades until they were broken, then the group moved on to the smashing pillars. Jakky managed to make it all the way to the end of the hallway, revealing the magic rune to be a fear-based effect that sent him dashing back into the pillars.

The crew kept pushing forward, and finally Anna reached the rune. Not understanding what was going on, she simply cut it in half with her sword, and the effect ended. A secret door behind the rune opened, and they passed into the inner sanctum of the Thieves' Guild.

Inside, a motley assortment of thieves greeted them. One of them, a suave-looking gentleman, approached the crew and introduced himself as Romero Calabra. The crew easily convinced him to join forces with Mr. Lizard, since Calabra had been present at the last major battle Mr. Lizard had been at.

They also recruited a burly, armored man with a mouse on his shoulder, as well as a zany-looking fellow with a top hat and colored hair. With their new lackeys in tow, they left the thieves' guild sanctuary through a secret exit and appeared on the now-flooded bank of the Mane River. It turned out their chaos magic had caused the entire river to flood while they were underground.

Agne, who had been flying around Garton on his Void Dragon Artorius, saw the crew on the shore of the river and swooped down. He was impressed that they had collected so many lackeys and flooded the river. He pointed out a tavern suspended hundreds of feet above the city that was his doing. He had gotten separated from the Demon Elf and Lucy, and found this group.

Meanwhile, Mr. Lizard in his giant mechanical suit was using buildings to crush other buildings, and having a great time with it. Most of the High District of the city, where the nobility lived, was completely in ruins.

The crew decided to check out the headquarters of the city watch, where they could probably cause the most chaos. When they arrived at the old clock tower (affectionately known as Dethklok) that was used as the watch HQ, they found it surrounded by a protective ring of fire. Fortunately, Myst was able to ferry most of the group over the flames, while Cressen and Agne just flew over.

Inside the tower, they grabbed some loot that was lying around and searched the area. It was unsurprisingly empty, with the guards off dealing with the huge armored monster in the city. They reasoned there still must've been someone creating that wall, though, so they explored until they came to the uppermost floor of the tower, with large magical gears spinning above them.

They saw an old man talking to Floris, the Captain of the City Watch and a longstanding enemy of their cause. He tried to speak calmly to them but the group was eager to beat him up, and he called out to his ally in the rafters, a barbarian woman (this would be a former PC, Runa) wielding a huge sword. She leapt down and the two groups met in combat.

Floris says: get your hands off my city!
Anna rushed forward to attack the barbarian, but her greatsword was enchanted with holy magic, and Anna took a massive blow straight away. Meanwhile, Agne unleashed a swarm of Evard's Black Tentacles on Floris, restraining and pummeling him. Cressen flew forward to attack the barbarian as well, while Jakky nimbly dodged through the tentacles to stab at Floris.

While the old man cowered in the corner, Myst drew his Oathbow and made Floris his sworn enemy. Arrows began to fly, alongside spells and swords. Cressen took a couple hits from the barbarian before a spout of chaos magic turned her into a Fireball. An actively exploding Fireball. The threat of the barbarian was gone, but now the crew found themselves in an awfully crispy position.

Fortunately, Floris had only just managed to stumble out of the tentacles when Myst's magical arrows finally found their mark. Floris collapsed to his knees, shouting at the crew about justice and revenge and all that. Agne decided to blow his head off with a blast of powerful magic to make him shut up. The lifeless body collapsed, and the crew took a moment to recollect themselves.

Myst dragged the old man over, and they asked who he was supposed to be and why he was so well-protected. He told them he was the new adviser to the King, and the crew immediately guessed he was evil. After all, he was an old man but just recently became the adviser, he must have some sort of diabolical plan. He assured them he was just an old man, devoted to King and country, no evil plans here.

So, Myst killed him. Then, Cressen brought him back to life using unholy magic, and they asked again. The adviser committed, saying he really wasn't going to join their evil cause. So, Myst killed him again. This time, they threw his body in the Portable Hole instead of trying any further.

Somewhat dissatisfied, the crew left the tower, heading back out into the city. They saw Mr. Lizard was now battling fiercely with a monstrous earth elemental, destroying much of the city in his wake. Cressen suddenly remembered that Chaos had granted him the ability to speak to and understand Earth Elementals, and recruited this massive being to the group's cause. They named him Rocky.

Next up: the pirate captain with the nicest booty in Garton
The crew headed to the city's docks, where they expected to find some river pirates that might be interested in joining. When they arrived, they found throngs of civilians all trying to get out of the city, while the guards were preventing them from flooding the docks. Even though the crew wasn't particularly interested in helping people, this obvious totalitarian restriction of freedom couldn't stand! The crew rushed forward, cutting down the line of guards and allowing the masses to rush to their ships and escape the city.

They located the ship of the river pirates, captained by the Pirate Anna, whose name coincidentally matched Anna's. Pirate Anna (so called to avoid confusion) quickly agreed to join the forces of chaos, before gathering her crewmates that had been held back by the guards and sailing away.

It was nearly dawn now, and the city of Garton had been reduced to a burning heap of rubble. The crew had killed some old enemies and made plenty of new allies, and they rejoined Mr. Lizard to fly back up to the Skyfortress and retreat. Mr Lizard, the demon elf, and Lucy were already waiting for them.

As they flew upwards, a flash of light appeared before them. Jakky hissed and pulled a fancy rug over his face. Before the group stood a divine being, holding a flaming sword and wearing a blindfold. Cressen immediately recognized this as an aspect of Pholtus, his father. Mr. Lizard swore.

"Hey Cressen." "Hey DAD."
That's where we stopped for this session! It was a lot of fun seeing them explore the city, blowing stuff up, and having a good time. I even streamlined the combats so they only had to fight the major enemies. I think a big part of keeping the pace of a D&D game exciting is building combats correctly. I wrote a little bit about that here, but I could probably write a brand new article about pacing specifically.

Meanwhile, we also did our second Valley of the Lords game this weekend. The group explored a dusty old castle - very dusty. They found much more loot, and seemed happy with their haul. I also had them fight a Specter, which is definitely a dangerous monster against 1st level players. However, the dang guy didn't score a single hit.

I'm starting to think I should write up an intro and sign-off to Valley of the Lords, similar to what they did with the deep-voice guy in the Adventure Zone. That was great.

Anyway, see you next time for more Chaos!

Thanks for reading!

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