The Djinn of Al-Qadim

Campaign Session Report #27

By MARK WILSON

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

Session #27

Previously, the party had infiltrated the palace of Qudra, using a distraction from their assassin allies and a much larger distraction from an invading crab army as cover for their efforts. But they were sloppy in checking for traps and alerted some guards to their presence.

Storming the Palace

The assassins’ diversion on the opposite side of the palace grounds allowed them to dispatch the two guards somewhat quickly, though they didn’t have time to remove the unconscious bodies before another group rounded the corner. They barred the doors from the inside with several large items, to buy themselves time.

Skulking around, they find a scared noble couple hiding in a bedroom, some banquet rooms and storage rooms, and a mailroom. Investigating the last, they find a supplies ledger and keep it for later scrutiny. They also find a delivery for a “Tahni al-Beyim” marked from Choni, a name they recognize. Choni was the eccentric merchant they’d delivered an item for early in the campaign. They hang onto the item, curious at its possible importance and knowing Choni deals in many magical items.

They investigate themselves into a pickle, not finding the type of info they’re looking for. The last place to look is the main hall, in which two large Galeb Duhr stand guard. Telchak acts as a distraction, leading one on a chase. The others dash across to a doorway that they find locked. The Galeb Duhr charges, but is mollified by Atar’s charm magicks. This doesn’t last long, but it’s enough for them to disarm traps and locks on the door and enter what appears to be a private study. Shortly after they enter, the Galeb Duhr begin pounding on the walls, trying to get to them.

Inside, a study where they find a letter addressed to Dhuza, the earth djinn leader of Qudra (below in quotes), and a secret room that leads to a teleportation circle. Atar inspects the circle and through a series of arcane strategies, is able to render it inert.

The Letter, which is addressed from their recurring villain First Brother Ebonflame, of the Brotherhood of the True Flame:

Dhuza,
Our plans go well. The fleet bound for the isle of Afyal departs as I write this. Soon we’ll add their formidable forces to our own. The setback in Hawa will stall our efforts North, as reinforcements will be hard to come by. Do what you can to harry and harass. Once our full might can be shifted northward, the so-called free cities will burn.

Bakada is more powerful than ever. Though the pyramid that siphoned the power of Kossuth was destroyed by Jaarallah’s forces before the full transfer, and it will take some time to rebuild, we know now how the magic works. A pantheon of elemental deities is within our reach, and the multi-planar influence that will come with it. The Brotherhood remains your staunch allies in this endeavor, that we might all reap the rewards.

When next I visit, I’ll set my attention to another of the teleportation portals, so that you might more freely visit Huzuz. It is undergoing some…changes that I think will interest you.
Ebonflame

The Loregiver

Escaping these rooms via the magical chalk they’ve used on several occasions (creating a “door” in the floor), they try to leave and are met with Nisma and another assassin, Miraya. The latter has worked in the palace as a spy, and leads them back inward. Nezima rightly suspects this is leading them toward the figure in the visions she had, of a girl trapped in a dungeon in Qudra.

Through a secret passage and underneath the palace, they encounter another Galeb Duhr, similarly duped magically. The cells have various prisoners, but Nisma alerts them to one in particular, and it’s an emaciated woman of about 20 years old, who identifies herself as Tahni. Nezima suspects this is her Fate-given charge, and they set to work freeing her. Time is short, though, so Tahni is the only prisoner they can free before the magic on the galeb duhr wears off and Miraya informs them that they’re running out of time before reinforcements arrive.

A short escape sequence later and they’re at an assassin hideout. They meet with Tahni and Nisma to plan next steps.

Tahni confirms her identity and importance: She is the Loregiver, a reincarnated being who has ruled over Zakhara for generations beside the Grand Caliph. Reuniting her with Jaarallah, the would-be Grand Caliph, would go a long way toward ultimately winning the war against the djinn.

Nisma then excuses herself to gather information on the ongoing battle between the city and crab forces.

Nezima reveals the other part of her vision following this, though, and it’s a bit darker: the one who helped them find Tahni will betray them, and must be killed, according to Fate. Nezima interprets this as Miraya, the assassin who led them to the secret palace dungeon. Low on resources and with Tahni struggling to stay awake and alert, they decide to digest this information and sleep on it.

Dungeon Master Notes

A weirdly combat-lite session given the circumstances, but this party is very much based on deception and charm magicks. They get in and out of a lot of places that other parties would have to bludgeon their way through.

Now that we’re further into the campaign (these session reports are generally 2-3 months behind our sessions), I can say the vision was not quite interpreted correctly. Nisma has been an ally, but is an opportunist first. The fact that the party didn’t act immediately on this side of the vision will have consequences.

Creatures Used

  • Veteran (CR3)
  • Galeb Duhr (CR6)
  • Assassin (CR8)

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