The Djinn of Al-Qadim

Campaign Session Report #24

By MARK WILSON

GM: Me
Setting: Al-Qadim (aka the continent of Zakhara)
System: D&D 5e
Level: 7-8

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; previously under influence of Malecada
  • First Brother Ebonflame: leader of the Brotherhood of the True Flame, minions of the efreet Bakada
  • Torrigar: Ancient Dragon Turtle
  • Malecada: Ancient Kraken, foe of Torrigar
  • Kar’rr’ga: 50-foot-tall crab demigod

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

Session #24

Previously, the party found themselves in a multi-faction naval battle, including gigantic, ancient beasts and their minions as well as their allies and enemies in the war on the djinn.

The Battle for Hawa – Fall of the Kraken

As the fight left off, there were still two water elementals on their ship, and Dalia was nearly unconscious. Their dragon turtle ally, Torrigar, was also near death and clearly unable to finish off the kraken on its own, despite the kraken having taken lots of damage throughout the fight.

As the fight continues, another warship approaches, bearing the flag of Hans Toot, their rescued Corsair ally who was under the kraken’s sway. He stands at the head of the ship, a maniacal look in his eyes, shouting unhearable curses into the wind as the ship slams into the kraken.

Kar’rr’ga quickly grows weary whaling on the ships, one of which (belonging to the Brotherhood) he had almost destroyed, and craves the blood of the other creatures that he sees as a threat to its conquest of the region. He dives into the water and heads for both dragon turtle and kraken, casting a radius of Fear that affects nearly everyone, including Malecada (kraken).

Torrigar disengages from Malecada, who flails about, suddenly fearing for its existence at the approach of Kar’rr’ga. A tentacle slams into their sailing ship, dealing the last of the damage needed to destroy it. It splits in two, and crew begin to fall or dive off the edge. Dalia summons her dolphin familiar (which she’s had for several sessions owing to some earlier shenanigans), which spirits her and Nezima straight toward the Kraken.

Malecade spurts a poison cloud in the area, attempting to escape. With their reactions, both take an attack of opportunity, and manage to slay the Kraken as it turns to flee.

They swim over to another friendly ship on the dolphin, which sits at about 2HP (as does Dalia), after taking the effects of the kraken’s watery poison cloud.

The Battle for Hawa – Ebonflame’s Promise

Meanwhile, Brother Ebonflame of the Brotherhood of the True Flame had been flying above the battle and briefly sparred magically with Atar. He flies down to the sibling duo, with Telchak having taken a nasty fall onto the ship’s deck as it sank. They go back and forth for a couple rounds, and Ebonflame seems immune somehow to Telchak’s psychic attacks.

However, the ships themselves spot him in the air and target him with their ballista. He takes several bolts to the side and is visibly bleeding. Though he tries to kill the pair before he’s taken down, he takes a lot of damage.

So he stops time in a localized bubble with a fearsome, high-level spell, floating up to Atar and Telchak, who are aware of him but can’t react. “I could kill you right now,” he says confidently. “But if I did, these damnable ships might take me out as well. I can’t take that chance. You got lucky this time. You won’t be so lucky next time.” And with that, he casts a spell and teleports away.

The Battle for Hawa – Rise of Kar’rr’ga

The nearly untouched crab god is now the most fearsome thing in the fight (Torrigar peaced out, having come too close to death against Malecada). And he’s absolutely wrecking ships, while his giant crab minions begin to overtake various ships.

Realizing they’re likely outmatched at this point, the party use the chaos to begin a retreat. One of Jayani’s ships survives, as does that of Hans Toot, but another of Jayani’s ships is not heard from later on and was presumably destroyed after the party fled on their ship.

But Atar grabs Telchak (her Fly spell was still active from last session), and boards the ship her mother and aunt are on.

Regrouping and Planning

Retreating to a hidden inlet some ways along the edge of island, and a safe distance away from the Baya of Hawa where the battle took place, the party lick their wounds, while conferring with Jayani to send messengers of warning to any remaining in Hawa. They suspect that Kar’rr’ga will turn its attention to the city once the naval battle ends, and that the city will be quickly overrun.

Resting, they level up (now level 8!), having survived and slain a kraken!

When they awaken, there’s a brief meeting with Jayani and Hans. They don’t know what to do about Kar’rr’ga, so they decide that the best course of action is to vacate Hawa and turn their attention to Qudra and the forces of the djinn. The Corsairs have other ports to call home and are somewhat itinerant anyway, so the matter of gathering forces is broached. Some won’t heed the call, but others will, given recent events and particularly given that Torrigar still lives.

Planning with the Corsairs and Revisiting the Free Cities

The Corsairs won’t work openly with the Free Cities of the North, even against a common enemy, but they’re willing to help against Dhuza (earth djinn and leader of Qudra’s forces).

A system of communication is devised to allow them to send messages to Jayani and Hans (I actually forget what it is, though; I’ll update as I remember), while heading back and working directly with the Free Cities.

Dropping the party off on the northern shores of Zakhara, the party walk into Muluk, a city north and east of Umara, which, based on their last communication with the leader of Umara, should be abandoned in anticipation of djinn forces overtaking it. They see signs of activity in Muluk as they approach…

Dungeon Master Notes

To demystify the spell with Ebonflame, he cast the level 9 spell Time Stop. And the spell allows him to take additional actions. But if he cast another spell that affected anyone else, the time bubble would stop. So he wanted to cast a high-level spell to finish off the duo, but if he had, the time stop would end and he’d have to survive another round of barrages from the ships’ ballista. It was a tense moment that was actually bittersweet for me as Dungeon Master, since I wasn’t planning on pulling punches with Ebonflame.

They might have had a chance to kill Kar’rr’ga with their combined fleet if they had stayed, but it would have been pretty dicey. They made a good strategic decision instead of risking TPK.

The battle went remarkably well for something so sprawling. My planning paid off, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. As a template for multi-pronged battles, I think I have some takeaways to adapt into future encounters.

Creatures Used

  • Kraken (CR23)
  • Dragon Turtle (CR17)
  • Kar’rr’ga (adapted from the demon lord Baphomet) (CR23ish)
  • Archmage (CR12)
  • Warships and Sailing Ships
  • Water Elementals (CR5)
  • Swashbucklers (CR3)

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