The Djinn of Al-Qadim

Campaign Session Report #20

By MARK WILSON

GM: Me
Setting: Al-Qadim (aka the continent of Zakhara)
System: D&D 5e
Level: 7

Players:
Dalia, the Mother – Rune Knight Fighter
Nezima, the Aunt – Hexblade Warlock
Atareeza (Atar), the Daughter – Divine Soul Sorcerer
Telchak, the Son – Soulknife Rogue

Notable NPCs:

  • Jayani Al-Jasir: Human council member of Corsair leaders, based in Hawa. Formerly used Torrigar as a “ship,” who willingly allowed her and her crew to board it.
  • Hans Toot: Dwarf Corsair leader; suspected to be mind-controlled by a watery entity
  • Leela al-Hiyali: Elf Corsair leader; brusque attitude toward the party and their plans to combat the djinn
  • Torrigar: Ancient Dragon Turtle

For full setting, campaign and character notes, please start from the beginning of the session report series.

Session #20

Previously, the party had boarded a corrupted dragon turtle, who had become taken over by a mummy lord and its minions. They engaged the mummy lord and had seemingly defeated it, after a tumultuous battle atop the dragon turtle.

Mummy Cleanup

Two mummies remain, so the group kills both in about a round. However, they also see the remains of the mummy lord begin to swirl and descend into the turtle’s shell, in which they know there’s a chamber that Jayani had told them about.

Battle With the Stone Golems

Descending into the turtle’s shell, they enter a naturalistic hallway, beyond which is a room, though it’s mostly obstructed by a column of debris that had fallen in the passageway. Telchak’s able to climb atop the debris and survey the room beyond.

He sees two stone golems, and the remains of the mummy lord entering a small chest, which one of the golems then clutches. The golems also have carved lines into them along their bodies.

They form a plan to steal the chest from the golems, and Atar creates a distraction with a Fireball. However, the golems appear unphased, and the grooves in their skin glow with fiery arcane energy, seemingly empowered by Atar’s Fireball. The group attacks, and also finds that Telchak’s psychic knives do little or nothing to the creatures.

Further, one of the golems slows most of the group. Eventually most of them shake this off, but Dalia remains slowed for the duration of the encounter, standing vigilant in front of the golem holding the chest but unable to move quickly or attack as much as she’d like.

It’s a long, drawn-out fight where the group has to nickel & dime their way to killing one of the creatures. It drops the chest, and Telchak runs out with it.

Heartburn

Atar takes the chest as a handoff and flies into the air with it, trying to break through the magical defenses surrounding the chest. Eventually the duo burn it down and it’s just a normal chest. Telchak bashes it to pieces with the blunt end of his dagger, but a stream of dark energy bursts out and sends him to the ground, greatly wounding him.

However, with these defenses burned, Atar sees a beating heart in the chest and sets it on fire. The entire group hears a scream echo through the interior of the turtle’s shell.

Meanwhile, Dalia and Nezima are still busy with the second golem, and it takes some time and considerable damage to both sides, but eventually the second golem falls as well. Most members of the party are moderately to severely injured and they briefly lick their wounds, so to speak, before turning back to the matter at hand: recovering Torrigar as a potential ally.

Talking With Torrigar

Telchak sits in the throne and is subjected to an immensely powerful psychic intellect bearing down on him. Torrigar forcefully pulls various memories from Telchak’s mind, but then softens toward this newest intrusion, realizing that it now has control of itself again and recognizing the party as allies of Jayani.

There’s an exposition dump related to its role in the world as a force for balance in nature. Throughout the eons, it’s protected animal life from powerful forces. It names one such entity at work in the region currently, Malecada, a kraken whose aspirations include ascending to a form of watery godhood and immortality.

In the party it senses power enough to help it, and while it acknowledges its debt to the group, it says it would also ask them for their help. Torrigar pulls additional memories from Telchak, and says he’ll be willing to help them against the djinn regardless, but that all creatures of the creatures will be aided if they help him against Malecada following this.

There’s also a back & forth related to the recently-released crab god, and the implications this may have for all of these matters. Torrigar is concerned about both.

Back to Hawa & Planning

Rather than make for Qudra or the free cities again, the party heads back to Jayani, who is able to commune with Torrigar and thanks the party profusely. She’s a willing ally in stopping the Corsair incursions or in direct conflict with the djinn, though she says that despite Torrigar, she lacks an army capable of taking Qudra on her own.

The group decides to head back to Hawa, surmising that if they can stop the influence of Malecada (who they assume is controlling Hans Toot, one of the Corsair leaders), they might gain additional allies.

There’s a long sequence in Hawa where they simply think through various potential plans, cautiously admitting that even with the aid of a dragon turtle and Jayani’s forces, if they rouse a kraken, they may be in for a bad time.

Dungeon Master Notes

We were down Atar’s player, and the group tried to keep her out of combat. But the trap on the chest was insta-kill if it took the target to 0 health, albeit directed at the single person who opened it. So Telchak smashing it open instead of letting Atar open it likely saved her life. Even if he had died, Atar can resurrect. But if she went down, there would be no way to bring her back. She was low on health from the previous fight atop the turtle, so I was worried for her. Telchak attacking the chest was a relief.

The stone golems were an amusing foil for the party. Immune to psychic damage, and my homebrew fire absorption negated Telchak and Atar effectively, and Dalia is traditionally the other big damage dealer (Nezima is more of a mix between damage and trickery). Her being slowed meant the fight went on for a while. I think we hit 10 rounds of combat, which is almost unheard of in 5th edition D&D. No one seemed to mind, though I wouldn’t want that to be the norm for combat.

Apparently annexing a corrupted dragon turtle is something of a trope in RPGs, and I was unaware of this, though technically aware of a one-shot with a similar premise. But since Jayani and her giant turtle mount are present in the official lore for the setting, I thought it was appropriate.

Them plotting against Malecada before dealing with Qudra is a mild surprise to me, but it’ll be interesting to see what plan they devise. Obviously a kraken would be beyond them, but they have a dragon turtle and a small war fleet, per Jayani’s aid.

Creatures Used:

  • Stone Golem (stats modified) (CR10)

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