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My First D&D Campaign: Song of Best Intentions [Session 6]

Check out sessions 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 to keep up with the action!

Once again the TL:DR is at the bottom of the page!

Water Safety Is Real

To pick up where we left off, our heroes were on the lake dock across from Count Calthrop’s house. The water was smashing against the side of the dock and everyone had to make a Dexterity Saving Throw, of which Arthur and Molli failed. Molli and Arthur were swept away by the current, and left Nia on the dock as they tried to keep their heads above water.

Thick kelp plants grabbed at their legs and pulled them under. They both made several Strength Saving Throws to fight against both the current and the vegetation that trapped them.

Arthur was successful in making it to shore, after failing repeated attempts to make it to Molli who was really struggling. Molli failed several times to free herself from the kelp and couldn’t keep her head above the water. The Doctor made it through the trees just as Molli’s head dunked under the water and he stripped himself of his boots, overcoat, and medicine bag to go after her. Nia found a rope on the dock and tied it around him before he dived in.

But he was too late and Molli ran out of air.

DM Notes: (Privately to Molli)

As you feel the breath leave your lungs, you are floating in seeping coldness of the black water around you and suddenly it doesn’t feel cold anymore. The stinging in your lungs fades away and you open your eyes to complete weightless black. You’re looking straight ahead and at a very far point of your vision you see a pinprick of light. No larger than a grain of sand. You start to swim towards it, it seemingly getting lost only to be found again until your get close enough to just barely make out that it’s a lamp hanging on a hook. And you’re now in the room with the lamp.

You don’t know why this feels familiar, but you’re in a room completely encased in wood that smells of salt brine and see that you are looking at yourself in a small chair. You are young; you are about four years old, and as you watch it you see a man come over to you holding a bundle in his arms. He is large, and he is solid, and he smells like safety and you don’t know who he is.

He smiles at you and holds out this tiny bundle in his arms and he says, “Would you like to hold your new brother?” You’re in the eyes of your four-year-old self, and you take the baby in your arms. There’s a woman on the bed red-faced and exhausted but full of love for you in her eyes.

“What should we name him?” the man asks.

“Niklaus,” you barely whisper, and the baby coos.

The man smiles and says, “That sounds perfect.”

Arthur sopped his way out of the lake and stood up. He spread his arms wide and cast Dispel Magic over the lake, and the waters calmed, the wind ceased, and the fog receded back to its side of the lake. Dr. Wolff found Molli, cut her free of the kelp, and dragged her body back to the surface. Nia pulled them back to the dock by the rope, and they pulled Molli’s body out of the water. Dr. Wolff immediately started CPR and ordered Nia to go grab his medicine bag from the shore.

Larz, Molli’s brother, decided to come through the trees and saw the waterlogged doctor giving CPR to Molli and broke into a sprint.

Nia made it back with the doctor’s bag and he used his doctor Medicine check on Molli to bring her back to life with a Pulp Fiction-esque adrenaline shot. She sat up so fast she smashed her head into his, and caused him 3 points of damage. She started shaking and went into shock and was completely confused. I messaged her privately that she was very disoriented and didn’t quite realize where she was. She told the group she didn’t remember anything but a lamp hanging on a hook.

Larz made it to her finally and started talking to her, but she couldn’t quite remember where she was or what was going on. She asked to go lay down and he took her back to the inn.

The rest of the party headed back to the inn to rest.

The Next Morning

The next morning, the morning of the heist, most of the adventurers slept in late til about 11:00. Nia decided to bring up a plate of food for Molli who still hadn’t come out of her room. On the way, she realized that Jondal (the paladin NPC) had the same idea as he walked a few paces ahead of her with another plate. Molli then invited the both of them to eat with her as she couldn’t eat all the food by herself.

There was a tap at the window that Jondal went to check, and a Mailer Falcon hopped in, his yellow glowing eyes focused on Nia who he gave a letter, then he gave one to Molli. He refused to leave until they offered him a bit of sausage. He hopped downstairs to give a letter to Bran as well.

The Letters from DM notes: 

My Dearest Bran,

Whatever is happening, I am sure you are where you are meant to be. The forces of evil have been gaining traction all over the land and even our small encampment has felt its pressure rising. Livestock going missing, illness and unexplained disease, and even a few young boys have gone missing. The Mayor insists that they just left to go adventuring, but these are good boys. They wouldn’t have left without a word.

Mother Clara says to have faith that the boys will return, but I’m not so sure. Someone needs to bring them back. Someone needs to find them. Perhaps I will collect a few strong people and go looking for them. I promise I will be safe, but I just can’t stand the thought of those boys, as old as fifteen and as young as ten.

Don’t worry about me and don’t come home to stop me. I’ll likely be gone if you attempt to come back. You continue fighting evil where you are, and I will do the same here.

With love,

Mirabelle

 

Nia!

Where are you? You haven’t visited home in forever. Lander just rolled into town so if you’re quick you might nab him. Mother and Father are hoping you’ll be home in time so we can all eat together before you or he heads out again. Hurry up and come home.

Love,

One of your sisters.

But only one.

 

Larz and Molli,

I love you. Don’t die. I’m proud. Remember the sweetest music is the branches in the breeze.

Love,

Edith

They all wrote letters to be returned and posted them with the same falcon with bacon as payment. After this was done, Molli told the others she wanted to clear her head by walking through town and Nia wanted to go back to the Black Market to buy the shoes. While walking through town, she caught sight of the twins sitting on the shore of the lake and decided to go speak to them directly.

Molli sat after being invited and asked how long they had worked for Count Calthrop and they said 7324 days. And then Molli said “I’d like to give you a test,” to which both twins narrowed their eyes at her. They asked her what she meant by a test and Molli replied “Well, since you seem to know so much, I want to ask you a question in to see if you can help me.”

The twins both looked at each other and looked down at their lunches before replying that Molli could have one question and one question alone. Because they absolutely hated tests.

Molli: “How many family members do I have?”

Twins: “About 142 direct blood family members.”

Molli decided to go with them to do their shopping, when Rohan and Arthur came out of the Inn and saw Molli with the twins. Rohan also received a message in a dream that told him to stay close to the “Drowned One” and he took that to mean Molli. So, Rohan walked over and started talking with the twins. He started asking them complicated questions about the lake, and over the twins shoulder he saw one of the market vendors vigorously shake his head no.

As end of day approached, several of the men started to set up the Inn for the gambling night and Nia invited Arthur to come across the lake with them by dancing across the lake with the Shoes of Tap she’d acquired. He accepted and left with Molli and Nia to hide out near the dock so they could take the boat back when Count Calthrop arrived.

As a DM using Discord to run this session, I realized that it would be very boring for the characters to have to wait by jumping from each group. So, I enlisted the help of one player who is also a DM (Dr. Wolff) to run the gambling scene because he had no money to gamble anyway. Once the players were happy (or not so happy) with their winnings or losses, I told them that I would wrap up the gambling scene at the start of the next session and told them they could leave the session early.

The Heist

The girls and Arthur watched as two figures came across the lake on the boat and walked up to the Inn. Then the two girls got in the boat, found two grey cloaks under their seats, and put them on. Arthur had Nia wrap the pink ribbons around his calves and the fabulous shoes onto his feet. As soon as they were secure, Arthur went on point and started dancing across the lake. They disembarked and walked up the long path towards the front of the estate. They caught a glance of a bonfire through the front gate and walked around the side of the estate to climb the wall.

As she went to throw it up on top of the wall, the rope sprung out of her hands and secured itself on its own. It was then Molli realized that the rope she had found in the temple of Melora was actually a Rope of Climbing. They climbed the wall and dropped back down the other side in a big bush. Arthur used Minor Illusion to throw the sound of breaking glass towards the front of the building, causing the guard who patrolled the back to run to the front of the house. They ran to an open back window with Molli and Nia climbing in, but when Arthur attempted it, it was as if a force field prevented him from entering.

Nia: “Man, this guy is terrified his wife is going to cheat on him.”

The girls first entered the reception hall that held a small table in the center with a nice flower arrangement on it and a few benches pressed to the wall. They checked the left door with the Portable Peephole, and walked into a darkened dining room with various art on the walls–two pieces being a small statuette carved of limestone that looked astoundingly like Molli and a tapestry panel of Song of Alyndriell’s Cost pressed between two pieces of glass. Nia shamefully tried to get it off the wall, but settled with the knowledge that she at least knew where it was.

Molli then used the peephole to look into the next room and saw a woman sitting at the table with a steaming mug in her hands.

My DM notes follow:

One woman is sitting at the servants’ table with a steaming mug in her hands. Her brown hair is threaded through with red strands under a white kerchief. She wears a grey woolen robe over her white nightshift. When watched from the dining room door, she stares tiredly from her seat and pops up when the door on the far side opens. This reveals her to be very pregnant. An awkward conversation happens in which Count Calthrope compliments her and says that pregnancy suits her while tentatively reaching for her stomach before letting his hand drop. He then remarks on the lovely flower arrangements and that they look wonderful and she gives a small smile. The woman stands awkwardly and thanks him for the compliment. Once he leaves, she lets out a breath and rubs her belly before emptying her mug in the sink and waddling away.

After having narrowly avoided being caught and having realized that the Count was actually at home and not at the Inn, the girls decided to try to make it through as quickly as possible. They made their way through the kitchen, a courier room, a nice living room, and a second reception hall before heading upstairs. In the reading room they found a peculiar selection of books on the shelf.

  • The Common Woman’s Guide to Royalty
  • Bardic Legends From All Over
  • Physiologies of Magical Creatures
  • Claiming the Crown: An Experienced Guide to Assassinating Royals

They continued on and looked through a private study (where Nia found ledgers with orders from her family’s shop in Zadash), several bedrooms, a sitting room, and a gallery that held several rare and valuable items behind seamless, unbreakable glass. They finally found a solid stone door with the symbol of an eye engraved onto it. When they pushed it, it swung open and revealed a wizard’s laboratory.

DM Notes: 

This is the room where several magical items are set behind panes of unbreakable glass. Behind the panes is an Armor of Invulnerability, a Vorpal Sword, two Scarabs of Protection, two Rings of Three Wishes hanging from small nails, and a Luck Blade. A barrel in the corner of the room hold several swords that match the description of the sword the man gave. An alchemist set is currently brewing. An assortment of plants seems to extend farther than the wall in the far corner.

They figured out which one was the right sword, took it, and opened the door to see about 12 imposing guards standing outside the door. After some careful consideration, the girls decided to go willingly and were deposited in the bedroom (which is just down the hall) of Count Calthrop.

Oops

At the fireplace stood Count Calthrop. He was a very tall man with broad shoulders; he had a dark head of slick black hair and pale skin. He was a very handsome man, but his gaze was cold and calculating. He invited them to come sit with him by the fire, to which both girls preferred to stand. He poured each of them a drink and handed one to each girl before complimenting them on successfully breaking into his home. Nia and Molli both took the shot and then they were frisked by the guards.

Count Calthrop looked intently at Molli for a moment when the guard mentioned that Nia’s garland wouldn’t come off of her head. Calthrop demanded to know what it was.

Nia: “It was a gift given to me by the goddess Melora.”

Calthrop: “Interesting.”

Calthrop raised a glowing blue hand to cast Identify on the garland but pulled away as if burnt. He deduced Nia was innocent by her reaction and said he had better get on with it. He asked the girls what exactly they were doing in his house and with the sword they were attempting to steal. Nia and Molli begrudgingly ended up telling him most of what he already knew.

Nia insisted that it was Barsk’s family heirloom and that he should return it to him. To which the Count laughed and said it was no such thing. The sword they were holding was one of 47 swords crafted and bestowed as gifts upon the 57 Wood Elf Brigade which stopped an Adult Green Dragon from decimating a town several hundred years ago. Barsk’s “family heirloom” was simply a war trophy of one of Barsk’s ancestors, and that the Count intended to return it to its rightful place and back into the hands of one of the Noble Brigade it came from.

Molli accused Barsk of lying and she was reminded that the world isn’t black and white. That the truth of one person is a falsity of another. Barsk didn’t lie. But the moral quandary still stood as to who the sword really belonged to; the one who it was rewarded to, or the one who won it in later combat?

Calthrop agreed not to send them to jail if they agreed to owing him one favor of his choosing whenever and whatever he asked of them. Without many options, and after checking it would be nothing salacious, both agreed. He told them to leave and to take their friend on the lawn with them.

They walked out to find their divination mage, Arthur, swaying by the huge bonfire next to the two twins.  Arthur, who had been abandoned outside, had found the twins dancing around this fire and immediately thought they were trying to summon a demon. After an insight check, he remembered in his divination classes they covered something called “Fire Seeing” which was basically divination by looking into a flame. He had predicted lunch one day by peering into the flame on the end of a candle. The larger the fire, the more divination energy is pulled in and put out.

He watched from the bushes, while the guards walked in their patterns around the premises. Eventually one of the twins called out for him to join them and he did. The guards all freaked out a bit, but listened when the twins invited Arthur to sit and they just kept patrolling. He peeled away his shirt so that he could sit in front of the huge fire without overheating and as the three of them stared into the fire, he saw something.

Arthur saw all parts of the past and future in broken, sharp, and scattered pieces. They pierced his thoughts and as his brain tried to comprehend what he was seeing, his subconscious shoved it all down under several layers of his mind so that his sanity would remain intact. He could roll once per day to gain advantage on a history check to see if he could regain that piece of knowledge. On a natural 1, he became confused for 1d8 hours.

When he snapped out of the trance he was in, he was teleported by Calthrop across the lake. Molli then ran back inside to ask about the statue of the woman who looked a lot like her. He claimed it was well over 200 years old and unless his eyes deceived him, it couldn’t possibly be her. He then said it was merely coincidence and to leave his estate before he changed his mind.

Nia felt appropriately shamed and embarrassed for her hand in all of this. Molli was insulted and mad that she now owed a favor to someone she didn’t know at all. Arthur had a great time and got a new superpower.

 

TL;DR

Our adventurers got caught in a swirling black lake that Arthur successfully dispelled, but not before Molli drowned and had a weird experience while not breathing. The doctor was able to bring her back to life, but she was confused and had many questions. She attempted to ask the twins the next day, but they gave her little answers.

Nia was able to purchase the Shoes of Tap and invited Arthur to join them on their journey across the lake. He accepted and the three of them headed towards the lake while the rest of the party set up for the gambling night at the Inn.

Nia, Molli, and Arthur made it across the lake, and then realized there was a forcefield which prevented Arthur from being able to enter. So, the girls ventured inside to find the sword and left Arthur on the estate to fend for himself. The girls made their way through the entire estate, found some suspicious books, discovered a ton of valuables they couldn’t steal, and ended up getting caught by the Count himself.

He reprimanded them, informed them of the true origin of Barsk’s supposed “family heirloom,” and told them that in return for not sending them to jail, that they owed him one favor of his asking whenever he asked it. Without many options, the girls left to find Arthur in a trance by a bonfire on the front lawn with the creepy twins swaying in unison. He had participated in a fire seeing divination ritual that nearly cost him his sanity.

And with that, they headed back across the lake. Well, Calthrop just teleported Arthur back.

I hope you enjoyed the session and please let me know if you would like to see anything else!

Post Comment

  1. Great read. Once again thanks for sharing your campaign with us. A couple questions: You explained how you handled it when 3 PCs had an adventure separated from the rest of the party, but there seem to be other times when PCs are acting in isolation or where you are interacting with them one on one without the others knowing/hearing. Are you handling these situations through a feature of Discord? If so, how well is it working (what are the other PCs doing during these solo exchanges)?

    • Sarah Michelle Karwisch on July 10, 2019 at 4:04 pm said

      Thanks for asking! I have my own discord server with several voice channels. Normally, we are all in the same channel unless it’s important for it not to be that way. I can move players around in discord as well. PCs are normally interacting with each other in a bar setting, and the one on one time never takes longer than a minute or two (except for the whole mission).

      Let me know if you’d like to know anything else!

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