I was exhausted coming home last night from my normal game so I didn’t write this until today. Sue me.
So the when I last ended, the party were slaves and were heading for the slave market.
Unfortunately, I had decided that I shouldn’t have done that and was considering a Deus Ex Machina.
To add insult to injury, I had 4 players who were unable to come for various reasons: my earth genasai barbarian can’t come any longer due to work/new home distance, the monk was out of town, as was the Pally/Warlock, and Bubby, the kobold wizard had a rough day at work and needed to take the night off.
Oof. BIG oof.
That said, another table had most of his table not show. This table is DM’d by the same guy who plays/played Moe, the tabaxi swashbuckler.
I make a proposition: take who you have and bring them to my table. Agreements were made all around, for Moe’s player and the two from his table that showed up. Then, we had the new guy from Sunday’s game (the one playing the half-orc barbarian/paladin, remember him?) playing a wrestler-type character, show up as well. With the three from my original table (the paladin, the bloodhunter/sorcerer, and the warlock/cleric), we had a nice, full table.
I thought to myself: think, Daily DM! You’ve improved worse! How do you get them out of slavery while at the same time incorporating the new members?!
Then it came to me: I have the perfect filler adventure!!
I was a huge reader, back in the day, of the Dungeon Magazines. HUGE fan. Ready made adventures, with the occasional adventure path that formed a mini- or full campaign. WONDERFUL resource for DMs. I had to go searching for it, but I found it: The Object of Desire by Gary O’Connell and Lucya Szzachnowski (if you are interested, it’s in issue #50).
So, here’s how it went:
The three new folks were in the employ of the sultan of Memnon. He, in the story of the adventure, needed adventurers to escort his niece to Calimport to marry her beloved, a prince (Nice story so far, right?). Needing more people to fill out the escort, the three were tasked with going to the slave market and offering freedom to a group of adventurers it was rumored that came in with a rumored pirate ship that doubled as a slaver ship. The pirate ship would be, in turn, captured and the crew enslaved for engaging in piracy, and their gear returned to them. In return for their freedom, they would only need to agree to escort the princess Yasmin to her beloved out in Calimport.
Knowing that they were heading that way anyhow, the party agreed. Yes, I know that this may seem…lazy. And, to be frank, it was. I had not had the time to campaign plan and I really didn’t want to do the whole “Yeah, the last week was a dream…yeah, that’s right. You wake up and everything that happened with the slaver ship never happened.” THAT, my dear readers, is lazy. Like…too lazy.
The party began the voyage. Moe, the swashbuckler, was a pirate and helped with the ship, as had one of his players that was playing at my table. After a day of sailing, the ship was attacked by a giant sea snake, which the party handily defeated and whom also chose to skin and fillet.
After dealing with the constant whining from the vizier who was the chaperone of the princess (as well as the cousin of the sultan), his egotistical and insufferable attitude, and belittling treatment of everyone, the party was attacked by a large force of four-armed gargoyles.
In the midst of battle, one party member saw a flash under the door of the princess’s cabin, and a tiny ball of scintillating light float away towards the coastline. Finishing off the gargoyles, the party set out in the 8-person dinghy towards the shore, finding a beach and 5 caves. The party left the man-sized crabs they found on the beach alone (although the wrestler-esque character wanted to eat crab) and proceeded into the dark caves where they were attacked by three ghouls, which the paladin dispatched quite easily with his glaive.
Finding a chest with treasures (and splitting said treasures which included a ring of truthtelling, an enchanted ring that gives advantage on Wisdom (Insight) checks to detect someone lying to you), as well as stairs going up, the party continued onward towards the stairs which led to a small room and then up to a narrow ravine, with more rough-hewn stairs, eventually overlooking the lagoon where the ship was left. Looking back to the deck, they saw that the vizier was having his things moved to the princess’s cabin. Jerk.
The party looked around, and in the distance, further inland across much sand (about 3-4 miles away) was a large structure with two towers. Heading there, the party figured that was the only clue as to where the princess might be.
Upon arriving, they walk through the ruins, just rubble now, of small walls, previously of what was at least a small town, and more likely a larger city. They come to the qal’at, with a stone wall all around and the following inscription above the entrance:
Let it be known that this qal’at and the court of Sultan Firouz al-Algarin are cursed by the wizard Nazir al-Azrad, whose anger is mighty and whose vengeance is eternal.
Sounds…foreboding. One of the party remembered the story of how, a long time ago, a sultan married the daughter of a crazy wizard, who came on their wedding day and turned him into a hideous monster, while fleeing to parts unknown with his daughter, for flaunting his wishes and spiriting her away in the first place. Legend has it that he placed a curse even upon his own daughter for her betrayal.
Upon entering into the courtyard, they see a dried fountain (which they avoid) and several statues in various poses on their left. Checking out the statues, they find that they are the petrified remains of adventurers that apparently came to this place and turned to stone. The erosion was so bad, however, that they would not be able to be saved. Looking around the base, the party found a dropped item, called a staff of striking which the wrestler took.
Wandering into the palace itself, they saw a curious sight: A beholder laying on a stack of silken cushions, with a beautiful woman attending to it, with the princess in a gilded cage.
Upon watching, the woman is told that her beauty doesn’t please the beholder any longer, and is turned to stone, while being told that the princess would be his bride!
Before the party can rush in to stop this, a ghost appears, bearing the resemblance of a slight man with a bookish look to him, beckoning them not to attack and waving them on towards one of the stair cases.
Following him there, the party finds the study of the now long-deceased royal librarian and scribe. Looking at his desk, they find a curious account…
Using dust made from crushing some of the warlock/cleric’s candy, they found they could sprinkle it in the scratch marks the pen had made, regardless of the ink spilled on the page, and found that they needed a pearl from the cleric that was to marry them (supposedly killed by Nazir during the wedding), a golden cup, and the purest water. The pearl would dissolve in the cup with the prayer uttered in the chapel, and if given to the cursed sultan.
After gathering the cup and finding an elaborate silken wedding dress, we ended for the night.
I hope you all stick around for next week when we conclude this adventure and continue with the search for Mhendi in Calimport!