The Djinn of Al-Qadim
Campaign Session Report #26
By MARK WILSON
Setting: Al-Qadim (aka the continent of Zakhara)
System: D&D 5e
Dalia, the Mother – Rune Knight Fighter
Nezima, the Aunt – Hexblade Warlock
Atareeza (Atar), the Daughter – Divine Soul Sorcerer
Telchak, the Son – Soulknife Rogue
- 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.
- Shazam Botswani: Ruler of Umara, which has now fallen to djinn forces.
- Nisma: Grandmother (leader) of the Everlasting, a guild of assassins.
- Dhuza, the Rock: Earth djinn ruler of the fortress city of Qudra
- Torrigar: Ancient Dragon Turtle
- 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.
Previously, the party had visited the city of Muluk to coordinate the war effort in the north, then infiltrated the fortress city of Qudra (under djinn control) as flavored coffee merchants. They’d just set down in the bay and were being escorted to a warehouse to have their goods inspected and paid for.
Crabs & Cargo
The plan is to look for information and undermine Qudran war efforts. It’s a nebulous plan, but off to a decent start.
Then the crabs show up (again). They chat with Dahlia, who tells them to attack. This unfolds as the session progresses, granting them a fair amount of “cover” for their actions as they move about the city.
The most recent eldritch twist is that the crab god took the husk of the Kraken from a couple sessions ago, and reanimated it with limited sentience and crab parts. Dalia seems unconcerned, but the party are increasingly aware of the fact that they’ll need to deal with the crab deity eventually, whose power seems to be growing unchecked in the region. The Kraken and various other crab minions attack the city’s harbor, creating a tense war inside the city.
Dahlia is also gifted a shield made out of the crab god’s husk at one point during the session. The other players suspect mind control.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. There’s a comparatively tame scene at the warehouse where the inspector samples their goods and tries to broker a fair deal for them. Once the ensuing chaos hits, they talk their way into being put up in a temporary house, under watch of the city, and it’s after this point that some of the crab stuff happens.
Their quarters are closely monitored, and after some lengthy discussion on how to escape, they use their magical chalk (the amusing bane of my DMing this campaign) to draw a hole in the wall and escape out the side of the building unnoticed.
They make their way roughly toward some supply houses in the city, having been briefed on the general layout. Two magically pose as guards so that they look like they’re being escorted.
They find a storage warehouse with food, and Telchak enters and dumps…a lot of crap into the food supplies, including some of the potent poison he’d obtained previously from the assassins.
They then inspect a barracks and find guards at the entrance knocked out. Investigating, the guards seem to be fighting one another. After a tense standoff with one who got the drop on Atar and held a knife to her throat, they piece together that these are assassins of the Everlasting, and the two groups are loosely allied in their purpose.
The assassins broker a meeting between the party and Nisma, whom they’d previously helped to install as Grandmother of the Everlasting. She wants to hit the djinn on multiple fronts, and the party suggests the palace of Qudra. Nisma’s forces will create a distraction, and the party will hop the outer walls and attempt to breach the palace itself.
The opulent, metal-laden palace is guarded, but lightly so, given the crab incursion. Nisma’s distraction allows for a stealthy entrance to the outer grounds outside the palace, and the party finds a service entrance near the rear of the structure and attempts to enter.
But they didn’t check for traps, and a lightning bolt lashes out at Telchak. Simultaneously, this triggers an anti-magic bubble, and the party’s magical disguises drop. Two gold-armored guards leap out of the doorway at this and attack.
Dungeon Master Notes
No combat for the 2nd session in a row, but we’ll be starting the next session with combat.
This was a meandering session as they tried to form plans, and I tried to feed them information without leading them to conclusions. But it’s tough when they entered without a clear plan and had to work it out as they went. Lots of random conversation. I hope to give them clearer incentives moving forward. How they complete tasks is where the creativity often lies in D&D. But clear incentives and goals aren’t railroading unless you also take from them the decision of how to approach accomplishing them.