This is the session log from the tenth night in a custom Dungeons and Dragons campaign I’m a part of.

Be sure to read our previous campaign sessions.

When last we left our heroes…

While trying to figure out a string of child abductions, the party has killed a Darkweaver and is now stuck in the Shadow Realm.

The Characters

Belt, a beer-brewing dwarf who was previously in the military. (Played by me!)
Svenn, a soft-spoken elf mage. (Played by Mike)
Rhoderic, the Magistrate’s Paladin who investigates unauthorized use of magic (Played by Ian.)

Our story continues

Upon defeating the Darkweaver, the party finds they’re in the shadow version of the house their investigation led them to.  The party searches the bedroom, the house, and the grounds, but fail to find anything helpful.  Deciding they have to find the missing kids, the party leaves the grounds, and head out into the city.  They immediately realize the entire city is represented here in the Shadow Realm, despite the layout being different [“this is likely due to how time and space flow in the Shadow Realm.  Distance has no meaning here, so ten minutes of travel in the Shadow Realm would cover miles on the material plane” – DM note.]  Shadowy versions of humans are walking around, emotionless [“Think Equilibrium or 1984” – DM note.]  The party attempts to interact with them, but they either ignore the party or respond incoherently.  Finally, the party manages to talk to one of the passing shadows, who points them in the direction of the town market.

In the center of the market is a cage filled with children, waiting to be sold.  Rhoderic notes there are more kids in the cage than were originally reported missing, implying that there are bigger implications to this problem than the party originally realized.  The cage is in the middle of a large square, and is heavily guarded by shadow orcs.  The party notices a tall Elf-like humanoid, who, despite the shadows surrounding him, somehow looks to be full of light.  He is wearing a prismatic coat and carrying a staff that seems to exude muted power.  Any time someone in the crowd puts out a bid, the Elf immediately outbids them; it’s clear that this guy REALLY wants to buy all these children.  The party decides to let him win the auction, and then follow him.  Upon winning the auction, the Elf has the children transferred from the cage into a giant wagon, hops on top, then starts riding off.  The party follows him for a while, then decide to use their shadowcloaks to disguise themselves as brigands.  They approach the Elf, and ask him if he would like an armored escort.  The Elf is suspicious, but he agrees to pay the party a pittance to guard him…for now.

The Elf continues to travel until he is outside the shadow city walls, and reaches the treeline of the forest.  Here, he dismisses the party, telling them they did a good job.  The party waits for him to travel a short distance into the forest, then Svenn casts invisibility sphere on himself (with Belt and Rhoderic within arms reach, so as to keep within the sphere.)  The party heads into the forest, following the obvious tracks produced by the wagon.  They find the Elf stopped in front of a fortress.  He pulls a small box-shaped artifact out of his robe, and presses a button on top of it.  A portal to the material world opens, and it looks like the Elf plans on driving the wagon straight through the portal.  Thinking quickly, the party manages to hop on the back of the wagon without the Elf noticing.  Everyone goes through the portal, and arrive back in the material world’s forest.

After the portal dissipates, the elf goes through the front gate of the fortress, where some domesticated and docile beastmen are manning the walls.  Another group of beastmen appear and take the children elsewhere in the compound, while the party (still invisible) decides to follow the Elf inside.  The inside of the fortress looks something like an M.C. Escher painting, with an unnatural sheen covering everything.  The party follows the Elf into his throne room, where he dismisses the Beastmen that were escorting him.  Svenn attempts to cast detect thoughts on the Elf, but his thoughts are so chaotic, Svenn can’t understand anything he picks up on.  Svenn ends the spell.  Since the Elf is now alone, the party decides to confront him.

Still invisible, the party silently surrounds the Elf (who is now sitting in a chair.)  Svenn stands behind the Elf, while Belt and Rhoderic stand in front of him.  With everyone in place, Svenn flicks the Elf’s ear, breaking the invisibility sphere that was previously shrouding the party.  As soon as the spell breaks, Belt uses his ring to cast Hold Person on the Elf, while Rhoderic aims his firearm at the Elf’s head.  The party asks who he is, and why he bought the kids.  The Elf says his name is Lakost, then starts laughing maniacally.  He is apparently a wild Elf, a native of the island who has lived here since long before the “outsiders” arrived and the city was built.  He hates the city and its inhabitants, since they’re taking over the island.  As Lakost is talking, Svenn sneaks in a closer look at Lakost’s staff.  Svenn suddenly realizes that he recognizes the staff: it is the legendary Mark of Light.   Since Lakost is unable to move (due to the Hold Person spell), Svenn snatches Lakost’s staff away from him, as well as the artifact he used to travel to the Shadow Realm.

Without warning, the doors to the throne room bust open, and a huge chaos dragon charges in.  Upon seeing the dragon, the party fails a confusion check [from the dragon's breath weapon, which also affected Lakost -DM note] as well as a fear check.  Belt rolls a nine (meaning he attacks the nearest “creature”), so he attacks Lakost and does 30 damage.  Rhoderic rolls a ten (meaning he takes his normal turn), and does 16 damage to Lakost.  With the Elf severely hurt, the chaos dragon snatches him out of the chair, and manages to run away while the party is stuck in place, confused.

The party finally shakes off the confusion and run back out into the courtyard, only to be confronted by 12 beastmen who are now anything but docile.  Svenn lets loose with a fireball, and hits 8 of the beastmen for 25 damage each (the other 4 take half damage.)  The beastmen charge the party, but all 12 miss with their attacks.  Belt manages to take down one of them, however Rhoderic misses.  Svenn casts magic missile, splitting the spell up amongst two targets.  He doesn’t kill either of them, but he severely wounds them.  One of the beastmen hit Rhoderic, and in retaliation, Belt downs two more.  Rhoderic misses again, while Svenn downs the two he had hurt with his previous magic missile.  Belt takes 11 damage, then takes down another one.  Rhoderic downs one, while Svenn severely wounds another.  The beastmen fail their morale check, so they flee.

After a quick search of the fortress, the party finds the children.  Something is severely wrong with them, which the party quickly determines is caused by beastman corruption.  If this corruption goes untreated, the children could turn into beastmen (!!!)  The party takes the kids, use the artifact from Lakost to hop through the shadow realm, and head back to the city.  They travel to the same location as the Ministry of Secrets, click the portal back open, and head back into the material plane.  They quickly explain what happened, as medics rush to the aid of the kids.  The ministry puts out a release about the kidnappers, making it seem like the problem has been solved.

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That about wraps it up for night ten.  Finding out the origin of the beastmen was crazy awesome, as no one in the party expected that to be the ultimate outcome of the evening.  We also nearly crapped out pants when the chaos dragon appeared, as we were COMPLETELY unprepared to actually fight it.  Lakost seemed to be perfectly maniacal, and although it’s obvious his alignment leans towards chaos, I’m not necessarily sure I would classify him as evil.  True, he’s abducting children, but then again his island has been overrun with outsiders, and his own kind is on the very brink of extinction.  I’m not saying he should be kidnapping kids, but…well, let’s just say that I’m slightly sympathetic to his situation.  Of course, Belt thinks it’s hogwash, and just wants to clock the guy in the head with his Greataxe.  This is a perfect example of the disconnect that is sometimes necessary between a player and their character!

Our DnD nights are on Wednesday now, so expect to see new session logs appearing on Thursdays.  Whenever this campaign (sadly) ends, I’m going to condense all of the logs down into a single document and post it on Scribd. I hope you enjoyed reading about our tenth night as much as I enjoyed playing it!