Well, I promised I wouldn’t wait as long to update on the campaign as I did last time, and I went even longer this time. So long that I’ve lost track of how many times we’ve played. I’m fairly certain we just finished Session 19, but we’re picking up a weird schedule now because we’re all out of class. Plus we’re feeling a bit of a time crunch when it comes to finishing the campaign. We have three session left, I think, or maybe four? Either way, it’s time for Risenstone to come to a close.
Right now, the PCs are in Tal, the giant city-state where people can literally fly. They made a stop in Avantor and Elsbeth on the way, and found out that the colonies and Sister Nations are all pretty much screwed because of chaos outbreaks, but before we get into that, a quick summation of how the PCs got out of Neddwan.
I won’t go session by session because that’s too much. So I’ll go destination by destination. We left off in Neddwan right after meeting Billy, a weird morphing creature that can turn into any race he’s seen. The PCs woke up to him talking aloud to himself, and by the next morning, after some shenanigans and such, had a map with several points of interest marked on it. They then went on to find the Shaman’s house, which shroud dropped upon reaching it. There they found a telescope and discovered the truth behind the astronomy of the world (will get into that when I go back and do a world building post about Risenstone, when all the secrets can come out about the world for the PCs). They also picked up a Babylon candle that has limited use but can take them anywhere.
They then returned to the village where the gnome elder had promised to try to get Einkel back. He said he hadn’t but that he was probably fine (the PCs were not happy). They left the Shaman’s body with the elder, and he became the new Shaman. Then the PCs used the candle to jump to the Astral plane were Einkel was trapped, found him, and had some great time RPing the whole thing. I also built one of the most fun encounters in the Astral plane with flesh gollums and another monster I can’t remember right now. Basically, they ate humanoid flesh to stay fleshy and such, and the entire town was a thin mirage made of fleshy.
The PCs then went to Melon’s home, where he caught up with an old lover. Awkwardness ensued, but it was fun. Then Melon’s grandmother asked him to retrieve a family relic from the bottom of Lake Nire, and the PCs took a swim through a magical cavern to a small cave system. They talked to a dragon named Guard Dog in Draconic and eventually figured out a non-combat solution to the room, got the relic, and then went back to the other room. There, they got some sort of vial of life-water from creatures composed of bone chunks and that couldn’t speak.
Back in Melon’s home town, Melon said goodbye to his love and promised to wait for him (haha). Amber also said goodbye to Einkel, sent a letter home to Arcane, and told Einkel to wait to hear back before returning home. It was about this time that Serenity also received a letter from her brother, asking her to come to Elsbeth immediately. This letter was orchestrated outside of the game between me and Serenity’s player. Unfortunately, she was unable to continue playing with us because of academic obligations. So she sat in on one last session so we could fold her out properly.
The PCs used the Babylon candle to get to Elsbeth, and Serenity met her brother at the docks, as well as many other Tiefling who had come along to take her home with them. Serenity said goodbye to all her friends, and then the real Serenity made a tearful departure from the table. We were all very sad to see her go; she was an absolute treat to DM for and I miss her presence at the table very much each session, but I’m also happy that her character got to duck out in a fashion that touched her. Even if all the rest of the campaign had been super hard to DM for, that moment was more rewarding than anything I can describe. I was truly touched by how much my world meant to Serenity’s player, and I am so grateful I got to give that to her and that she accepted it.
With Serenity gone, the PCs continued their mission, searching for the relic supposedly hidden in Elsbeth. After receiving some less than helpful advice from a handful of people in a local tavern, the PCs, after an encounter with a belligerent guard, managed to narrow down where the relic was: in the collection of a huge Elf college in the middle of Elsbeth. Viara turned into a spider and watched the relic leave the college with a bunch of Skiesdale guards. She tried to tell her companions, but they met some guards in the underground tunnels and a very strange encounter ensued, which ended with Viara summoning something like six elk into the tunnels underground which attacked their pursuers. So they all got away, but ran down the wrong tunnel and ended up having to give up all their potions to a druggy guard to get by.
The PCs then tried to do a stake out of the warehouse where they thought the relic would come out of. However, they missed a backdoor and lost track of it. They did however find a large quantity of drugs, but in an attempt to sell them, they accidentally tipped off the drug circuit chain of command and got kidnapped by a drug lord known as The Bird. In order to rectify and pay him back for the drugs they’d taken, they forked over all their gold, Amber’s hand axes, and several jewels.
So poor, and threatened to get out of town, the PCs rode on Viara (who can turn into a giant eagle now??) to get across the catastrophic landscape that is now the Sister Nations and the colonies. They made camp in a magical hut that Melon made and woke to a bunch of chaos creatures surrounding them. They escaped unscathed and landed in Tal several hours later, where they met a nice-in-comparison-to-Elsbeth bartender and began searching for Viara’s sister.
That’s were we began the session today, which was full of RP and character development for Viara. They chanced upon Delia (that’s right, the Commander) in the bar, who said she was working with Ephalia to try to solve the mystery of a force called the Kashyo in Tal and their connection to the relics the party, as well as Skiesdale, is searching for. Delia told the PCs that she had been booted from the army because she had failed in Talos, and had since been in Tal. Delia then took the PCs to their shop which served as a front for their small cluster of “investigators.” There, Viara reunited with her sister, but not happily.
Viara’s reaction to seeing her sister was actually very different than I expected. And I loved it. Viara questioned Ephalia as to why she had left her in the Unsettled Lands, but after several tense apologies and some tears, she came to forgive Ephalia and accepted an opportunity to get to know her again. Then Viara met her “real” (biological) dad Lyle, which was even more awkward. But man was it great for RP.
So after all that was settled, the PCs slowly combined the knowledge Delia and Lyle shared (for some reason they never asked them questions together). They decided to go investigate the disappearance of some of Lyle’s companions in a district known for its party culture and headed out. Once there, a bartender drugged Melon and then paid him to play for the minimal crowd in the bar at 11AM. She then talked with Amber and Viara a bit, freaking out when they tried to mention missing people to her and sent them away to the next bar.
In the next bar, people were much more crazy than previously, and Amber and Viara went to talk to the Half-Orc bartender, who responded to a codeword Lyle had told them. Meanwhile, Melon got hit on by a human man who wanted to go out back to hookup, but when they left the tavern, he tried to push Melon off the side of the building, a fall that would have been instant death if he couldn’t make the checks to grab onto something or properly fly with a potion while drugged. However, he failed to push Melon, and disappeared right before Amber and Viara made it outside. They figured pretty quickly that it had been a member of the Kashyo. When they went back into the bar, the bartender had disappeared, leaving behind nothing but some poison drips on the counter and an empty hidden drawer.
Stunned, the PCs went to a gambling center next door to try to find someone to cover the bar, and inadvertently ended up talking to a strange man named Quincy at one of the gambling machines. An elf named Thebe came up to Amber and Viara as Melon attempted to get some info from Quincy, and Thebe warned them to get away from him. She then took them down a layer in the city to level 69 (haha) to a brothel so they could speak privately. She then told them that she had been sent by Lyle and the other members of her group had disappeared, presumably killed. She asked what their plan was and told them that she suspected Quincy was a Kashyo that had lost his mind and was being used as bait for people like Lyle and herself.
The PCs said they wanted to be captured, and Thebe said that probably wouldn’t be a problem now. But she also said that if they wanted to get caught anyway, they could try talking to Quincy again to see if they could prompt any information from him. She said that it was only a matter of time before the Kashyo came for her when they realized she wouldn’t lead them back to Lyle, and said she wished the situation was better.
And that’s were the session ended today. We’re playing again tomorrow evening, so we’ll see how it goes! I did some writing for it already, and I’m feeling good about the city of Tal. The RP at today’s session was also spot on and I loved being able to play through Viara’s family drama. The RP honestly is my favorite part of RPGs (imagine that) and as a DM you usually spend like 80% of sessions doing it (even though it’s great when the PCs are so engaged they talk in character and you can sit and watch). I feel like my ability as a DM has increased exponentially, and I’m still blown away by the personal growth DMing has caused. Seriously, everyone should DM. It is such a confidence booster, plus now I have four more amazing friends that I love so much.