The Djinn of Al-Qadim

Campaign Session Report #22

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
  • Agadmator (Antonio): Corsair leader, imprisoned by Hans.
  • Leela al-Hiyali: Elf Corsair leader; brusque attitude toward the party and their plans to combat the djinn
  • Torrigar: Ancient Dragon Turtle
  • Malecada: Ancient Kraken, and presumably the force controlling Hans.

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

Session #22

Previously, the party had investigated and abducted one of the Corsair leaders, Hans Toot, who was being mind-controlled by an Aboleth, who they learned was a proxy minion of a kraken. They’d rescued another Corsair leader from Hans’s compound, but then Dalia got mentally dominated by the aboleth and was commanded to leap into the water surrounding the compound. As we picked up, the aboleth was swimming toward Dalia…

Harassing the Aboleth

The group leaps into action, and the abolet bids Dalia grab onto it. It begins swimming away, largely ignoring the rest of the party, though Atar and Telchak manage to grab onto its back.

It shakes them free, but Atar takes Telchak atop it with a Dimension Door spell, then casts Fly on herself and raining damage onto the aboleth. Nezima gets some parting shots but is eventually out of range. In all of this, though clearly not trying to stay and fight, the aboleth does considerable damage to a few of them.

The aboleth speaks to Dalia in her mind, saying it will introduce her to “my love, Malecada.” When asked what Malecada is like, the aboleth replies “She is exquisite.”

More damaged than anticipated, the aboleth attempts to mind control Atar, but fails. It then releases Dalia, giving her mental instructions to pretend to be free of the aboleth’s control and to get her family to stop pursuing. Dalia’s player gamely accepts this task (sent via text in secret to her player), but the party remains skeptical. Pursuing via air and sea, Atar and Telchak expend all of their resources (and crit a couple times) to put down the aboleth before it can escape to deep enough water to lose the pursuit.

Dalia confirms that she had still been mind-controlled until the aboleth’s death, and thanks her family profusely.

Shopping & Shipping

There’s a brief meeting with Jayani, after which they bring Agadmator (whom Jayani reveals is named Antonio) to her compound. They take Jayani’s knowledge of his name as a sign that the two are romantically linked. Which was nowhere in my notes, but it was funny, so I played coy as Jayani, seeming to confirm their suspicions.

Dalia goes shopping for presents to give to her kids, coming back with some minor magical trinkets and an unexpectedly powerful magic ring (which ends up with Atar) that a pawn dealer didn’t know the worth of. They are grateful, and Atar wants to get a present for her mother in return. She comes back with a dolphin paperweight, and Dalia thanks her. Atar then reads Dalia’s thoughts, revealing that she thinks it’s a nice gesture but the dolphin itself is junk. This upsets Atar, though Dalia says she shouldn’t be reading the family’s mind. Telchak asks her to read his thoughts, and she does, but it’s just gross stuff. He laughs, having tricked her.

Antonio seems pleasant enough but is still clearly a thrall of Malecada (kraken). They then decide that Antonio needs to be taken to Torrigar for further questioning. They take a small rowboat out to the bay, where Torrigar and Jayani’s Hawa-based ships are located.

Torrigar’s Revelations

Inside Torrigar, Antonio (Agadmator) is placed in the organic throne that allows someone to commune with Torrigar, whose latent telepathic abilities allow him some insight into the links Antonio has with the kraken.

He speaks through Antonio: Malecada is aware of the aboleth’s death and is enraged. She will most likely either retreat, having lost an important ally, or will attack in anger with her amassed forces, which number in the thousands of sea creatures of various types. The kraken’s hold on Antonio could be broken, but it would take time.

Torrigar advises preparedness. The party agrees, but needs to rest after the fight with the aboleth. They do so back in the compound.

Atar’s gift of coffee and Telchak’s of candy causes them both to be up later than usual. Telchak’s other present, a “Potion of Squealing” is tasted, and he fails his save and ends up squealing like a pig for several hours, well past midnight. They all eventually get some rest, but it’s a later bedtime than usual, and a later morning wake-up. They are eating brunch at Jayani’s compound when a courier runs in with news…

Attack on the Corsair Domain

Several ships traveling north were seen, approaching Hawa. They bear two flags: those of Leela al-Hiyali, and those of the Brotherhood of the True Flame. The party is concerned but not overly surprised, as they previously learned of Leela’s allegiance with the group, and also that she had contacted them about the party’s presence in Hawa.

They race out into the city, which becomes more alive with activity as the news spreads. However, they’re among the first, so they’re able to mobilize Jayani and head out toward the ship they arrived on, out of Umara, one of the northern Free Cities. Jayani heads to Torrigar, and her other two battle-ready vessels sit in the bay as well. As they mobilize and pull up anchors, they see several ships cresting around a small island out from the bay, bearing the crest of the Brotherhood and approaching swiftly…

Dungeon Master’s Notes

Goodness, D&D gives certain parties lots of tricks. I was getting as creative as possible without pulling the “because I said so” DM card with the Aboleth’s escape, and they still killed it. Granted, I knew they could take out the Aboleth in a fight to the death. But it had larger schemes and just wanted one of them.

Ok, though. Lesson learned, and a fun one at that. I enjoy when the party flummoxes what I was going to do through NPCs or villains, because it forces me to adapt.

The sea battle is going to be lengthy and intense. I imagine it will occupy the entirety of the next session, and perhaps beyond.

Creatures Used:

  • Aboleth (CR10)

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