Campaign Diary: Act 3 Wrap Up
Wow, it seems unreal that we have been playing the same game for five years now. The players have grown up alongside their characters. So much has changed, but a lot remains the same. I will try to get more of the campaign diaries online as I can, but I wanted to get this up while it was all still fresh. Be warned, there are spoilers.
The BBEG Plans Revealed
In D&D lore, the Drow were cast down into the Underdark when they tried to cast a spell that would allow them to return to Arvandor, the home of their god Corellon. Corellon cut ties with them entirely, leaving them to the evil goddess Lolth. Eilistraee, a good elven goddess went down with the Drow in an attempt to help them.
The Big Bad Evil Guy of Act 3 of this campaign is the leader of the High Elven counsel. Once again, a cult leader has arisen to leadership and orchestrated another attempt to force their way back into Arvandor. This time, an army of elven wizards, priests and acolytes have worked for 500 years to cast a spell that would open a gate into the elvish heaven big enough to bring an entire world through.
So… Go Big AND Go Home.
Age Old Foes Unite
Ages ago the Dragons fought alongside the elves against the Giants, Humans and Dwarves. The Dragons and Elves won. The Giants and Dwarves were driven from this world and the Humans were exiled to a sub-continent low in resources and magic.
After hundreds of years, the Giants, Dwarves and an army of Humans from another crystal sphere returned to Pereta on the Spelljammer World Ship. The player characters negotiated peace with the new arrivals and secured them a claim on two very large, inhospitable islands deep in the human-controlled territory.
With the arrival of their ancient foes and the player character’s increasing interference in their plans, the Elves opted to speed up their plans. The Elves entered the final stages of their spell casting, and the entire world witnessed the most powerful magic ever wielded by mortals. In the space above Pereta, a vortex of magical energy appeared and a portal to another dimension opened.
Seeing the sky ripped open, the Dragon Conclave voted to side with the Humans, Giants, Dwarves, and other magical races to attack the Elves and end the spell before it could be completed.
Beset On All Sides
As one group of player characters scrambled to evacuate as many people as possible from the surface of Pereta to the World Ship used by the Giants to travel here from another world, another group rallied an army of dragons to fly north to battle.
Meanwhile, Pradler, the head of the magic school, organized all of the NPC’s (PCs who’s players couldn’t make it to the game mostly) to attack the portal directly.
The kingdom of the Giants sent their floating fortress north loaded with an army of Humans and Dwarves. Their destination… the Elven capital city.
Act 4 BBEG's Forshadowed
With the unanimous agreement of all the players that they wanted to continue with these characters and story instead of starting a new campaign, I devised the next act’s central theme and began sprinkling hints into the game.
While battling the Elves on their Armada, the characters found out that one of the members of the Elven High Council was actually a Mind Flair.
As the player characters got close to the portal, they began encountering tentacle monsters never before seen on this world. Once the portal got large enough and the PC’s got close enough, they saw it was a gate to the Far Realm, not Arvandor. Many horrific and evil creatures were spilling through the portal and attacked everything in their path.
An Epic Ending for the Grown-Ups
Pure Wonder, Dhiasa, Rough and Tough all headed into space above the planet with the aid of some wyrmling dragons. They arrived in time to aid in defending Pradler and a group of casters working together trying to seal the portal and all manner of tentacled beasties rained down from the Far Realm. After losing several defenders, Pure Wonder and Dhiasa switched from defense to assisting Pradler and the other casters with their ritual. With their aid, Pradler was able to complete the ritual, but everyone and everything within 500 meters was blaster into the Astral Plane.
With a warning from Pradler not to cast any spells, the group faced down all of the Far Realm monsters that got sucked through with them by using a few handy magic items and liberal use of teeth and claws. Realizing that they were about to be overrun Pradler cast Fortress and the characters retreated inside. Once inside, Pradler cast an elaberate spell to stabilize the rift created by the Elves, and the party returned to Pereta through the new portal.
Once back on their side of the portal, it became very apparent why Pradler had warned the others not to cast spells in the Astral Plane. The PCs watched as their long-time mentor and quest giver rapidly descended into the depths of Magic Madness.
An Epic Ending for the Kids
Brillgar, Lilith, and Halbard flew north with the largest conclave of dragons the world had seen since the last great war. As they approach the Elvin capital city of Silvania, the ground below grew black. An inky tar covered the landscape and buildings. From the portal above, tentacled monsters dropped to the ground. Most of them didn’t survive the fall.
The party’s dragon mount was hit by several of the falling monsters, which latched onto it like ticks. The party managed to fight them off and heal the dragon enough that it was able to deliver them to the base of the tower in the center of the city.
Several skill checks later the party found itself at the top of the 50 story tower, with all of them more than a few hit points low. Entering the top of the tower through a hatch, two of the party managed to dodge the BBEG’s tentacle attack that ensnared Brilgar.
A couple of tense rounds of combat showed that they were hopelessly outmatched. Halbard player could be heard yelling over the other players, “How is this a fair encounter!? What part of this is balanced?!”
To wit, I replied, “It’s not. There is nothing fair about this fight. But I know my players. You are going fight fair for a couple of rounds before you pull some tomfoolery and the battle will be over.” I took a bathroom break to give them a minute to strategize… ok, metagame.
I returned and the game resumed… Halbard and Lilith moved and forced their opponents closer to the BBEG in the middle of rooftop. Still grappled, Brilgar used subtle spell to cast Transmute Rock to Mud. All of the BBEG’s forces were within range and fell through the floor, 50 stories down the central spire. More concerned with saveing himself than grappling Brilgar, the BBEG let go the kobald. Brigar spread his wings and flew to join his companions.
High in the sky above, the portal slammed shut (grownup’s game) and all of the energy being sent skyward began to feedback into a gigantic, car-sized diamond being used to focus and beam all the energy into space. As the diamond shattered, exploding into thousands of pieces, Brilgar cast Temporal Shunt as a reaction and pulled the entire party 6 seconds (1 turn) into the future and about 30 feet further away from the explosion. Pieces of the exploded diamond were still tinkling as the three PC’s raced to fill their pouches with as many diamond shards as they could before the energy building up in the tower caused the entire building to explode. All three took flight as the spire cracked, crumbled, and melted down from all of the magical energy focused on it.
So, how do you follow up on an Epic, world-changing event like this? With an epic level celebration of course. Here is my shortlist for upcoming sessions (SPOILERS!)
- Eilistraee and Mystra appear at the banquet hall during the celebration.
- Pradler gets cured (mostly)
- All the characters get an Epic Boon or a magic item tailored to their character.
- A new and very powerful BBEG arrives on Pereta via the conduit stabilized by the characters.
- Corellon shows up and removes the curse on all of Pereta’s Drow then curses all the high elves to become the New Drow. Mass migrations ensue.
- The World Ship becomes a space doc and official port of entry for Spelljammer ships coming to Parate.
Will the players choose an epic space sage or try their hand at rebuilding this new world? Well, that’s really up to them, but I look forward to playing along with them for years to come.