Where to begin, one night a few weeks ago we decided that a one off evening of adventure would fulfill our D&D needs for the festive period, and then after chatting to our incumbent dungeon master it was decided that it might be a good idea for me to have a little practice session, before my introduction to campaign management next year.
So we found ourselves at Craig’s domain, ready for a short evening of dungeoneering (?). It didn’t start well, with our original party being reduced by one, and my first lesson was learned, be prepared to change stuff before you evening start rolling.
The paty consisted of Craig’s halfling rogue, Fergal, Matts half-orc eldritch knight and Ian’s human barbarian.
Our trio of adventurers found themselves sinking a few drinks in one of the cleaner bars on the Waterdeep docks, recounting tails and discussing further adventures when they were contacted by a half-ling hireling, who requested there presence in his masters home. The temptation of a payout was to much, and the group made their way to Anaxi Zephries richly appointed home in the south quarter, here they met the Cartophile himself and listened to his request.
Anaxi had received a mysterious map, which he believed was from his great,great,great,great (you get the picture) uncle Alton. Alton left on an expedition with a great wizard and inventor named Kwalish many years before and he wanted our intrepid crew to go and discover whether he still lived and if they could recover Kwalish’s journal. The party were a not to impressed and Fergal decided to help himself to one of the beautiful quills in the cartographers workshop. At this point money was mentioned and Fergals eyes lit up, and he decided theft may not have been the best way to start this bushiness partnership.
Now Anaxi believed that the map showed the place where his uncle was, and that it was situated in the Nether mountains, home to Blue dragons and Hobgoblins. Reliq’s ears pricked up at the sound of dragons and it took some reassurance from Anaxi to convince him that the position of the map was nowhere near the Red Flayers of Doomspire.
With this cleared up Anaxi noted that the party was one short and offered to send along one of his hirelings. the choice being a vampire in a box on legs, a vain but talented bard / map maker, a
modron called Gearbox and finally a strange beautiful female with a magic box of cards. Mary Graymalkin caught their attention and the opportunity to gamble with the fates was to much of a temptation, it was decided and the group became a foursome.
Anaxi used a scroll he had purchased to fly the party into the mountains and without a backwards glance they were gone, coming to ground aat cliff overlooking a floating island. Zoro, using his historical knowledge, recognized it as some form of planar ship and Reliq seemed confused about the lack of ground underneath it, so more investigation was required and the team made there was down the cliff path to a dock area.
Before reaching the docks they were stopped by a huge creature who identified itself as a Sphynx, at this point a discussion took place on the normal sphynx like activity, and the fact that they would probably be asked a question or two.
However they were surprised when the sphynx requested a question from them, no matter the result she would let them cross the gap to the island. Fergal was quick to ask what the catch was, and unsurprisingly there was a small one. If she was able to answer one of the party would have to relinquish some of their intellect.
The question was asked (after further discussion) and the sphynx was able to answer, taking part of Reliqs intelligence, as he said he wouldn’t miss it. Now while all this was going on Mary was getting into a deep conversation with the Sphynx and her cat seemed to be taking an unusual liking as well, so when it was time to leave she did not feel like continuing. she did flash her deck of several things. to the party though. Temptation became to great for Reliq, who took the top card as instructed, and found he drawn The Key, earning himself a magic whip. Once he had seen the prize, Fergal wanted in, unfortunately he got the Medusa card and was cursed to have a minus to all his future saving throws. Reasoning that there had been a good and bad, the two friends managed to convince Zoro to take a chance, he pulled the Comet and was challenged to defeat an enemy single handed for a bonus. Now they had the bug and Fergal had another go, and the Gem card was revealed, he found himself at the end of a rainbow, as a leprechaun appeared,made to run. The three heroes bravely attempted to apprehend the little fellow, but to no avail, and he escaped with all his treasure. Relic wanted one final go, they were minimizing the risk by only taking one at a time, unfortunately this didn’t help as Relic drew Talons, and managed to lose all of his magic items, which consisted of one whip. This cooled their gambling desires and they went back to trying to convince Mary to come with them.
Mary was not moving, seemingly deep in conversation with the Sphynx, her cat climbing to the creatures ear and making itself comfortable. Mary offered to leave the cards with the group, explaining that the cards would return at her call, or once they had all died.
Taking the deck they boarded the skiff that took them over to the island/ship, where they were met by a delegation of monks lead by Lean Meimbaol. They were invited to meet the Grand Master, but declined at this time deciding on some exploration.
Making there way around, what they now thought of as a monastery, they met more monks and after further conversations, they decided to visit the cells of the penitent. These turned out to be prison cells guarded by more monks, who seemed perturbed by the parties inquisitive behavior and tried to make them to leave. This just made the group even more interested in the nature of the cages and those poor souls that were being held inside, so they decided to deal swiftly with the monks.
All went well until Fergal quietly opened a box which turned out to have a mad man inside and he was promptly attacked . The monk Reliq was fighting had some sort magic polearm, but this did not stop Reliq defeating him, as did Zoro, dispatching his assailant with a swing of his axe.
Once all the monks were down Reliq decided to open the cage of a weeping prisoner, who also turned out to be quite mad, the party made short work of the crazed individual, finishing him off as he crouched in tears before them.
This made them more cautious of the other boxes, and using the slits in the doors they were able to communicate with the prisoners, but also discovered another poor mad soul who they decided to leave in his cell.
The prisoners explained they were also brother monks, but they had decided to try and leave, and on being re-captured had been placed in the cells to contemplate there mistakes. They offered to help for their freedom, and were allowed to leave their cells. It was during this conversation that it was discovered that all the monks had had there faces flayed off in some kind of evil ritual, which took place at the Leather Works.
While this conversation was going on Zoro decided to examine the weapon Reliq had taken from the lead monk, he discovered a strange sliding switch on the shaft and with encouragement from Reliq, thought to try it out. Placing himself in front of the final cell, whose occupant was presently standing silently staring at nothing, Zoro made the decision to slide the switch forward after all what could possibly go wrong? Releasing a bolt of light from the end of the shaft it melted the lock on the cell door. Zoro narrowly avoided being hit by the doors as they swung open revealing the last mad man, who instantly attacked in total silence, once again the group made short work of him and he died without making a sound.
This is where our adventure ended, the group wondering what evil was taking place and whether they could defeat it, and in Fergal’s case, where was the treasury and how could he get in to it?
A one shot? I have no idea how this could have been played in one evening, but hopefully we will get the chance to continue. As a learning opportunity, it was definitely worth while and i would strongly advise anyone else considering DM’ing to play a short adventure first, it ill open yours eyes to the amount of work it can involve.
Now roll on Waterdeep…