The Djinn of Al-Qadim

Campaign Session Report #28

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 #28

Previously, the party had liberated the Loregiver, Tahni al-Beyim, from her imprisonment in the palace of Qudra. Tahni is the Loregiver, a reincarnated being who has ruled Zakhara with the Grand Caliph for centuries. She is a conduit to the gods and possesses divinely inspired wisdom. However, Nezima had received a vision previously indicating that the one who helped them find her would betray them, and that Nezima needed to kill this person.

Visions & Scries

The session opens in the assassin hideout in the city. Nisma, the assassin guild leader, had sat in while the party and Tahni unpacked their stories. Nisma excuses herself to gather information on the state of the city, which is battling with a crab army.

Meanwhile, the package that the party found in the palace’s mailroom, which was addressed to Tahni, is delivered to her, and it’s a magic mirror that allows her to scry. They use it to locate Jaarallah & Friends, and find them in the desert caravan they’d previously traveled with (under the leadership of Fatima al-Fihri, who took them deep into the desert to the pyramids).

Next, using the last of Nezima’s Dreambliss substance, Tahini prepares it and the two induce a vision in themselves, as Tahni believes she has part of the key to stopping the djinn forces.

The visions coincide to lead them to a crescent-moon temple in the desert, except the desert’s sands are a dusky blue and the temple sits under a full moon. Tahni tells them that the very first Grand Caliph is buried here, and that interred with him is the wisdom required to magically bind the genies as they once were, so that they don’t have free reign over the Prime Material Plane. With this knowledge, a damning blow could be dealt to the djinn forces.

Armed with this knowledge, and after resting for a time, they depart to do some fact-finding of their own.

The Inevitable Betrayal

They’re met by city forces, though they recognize one “guard” as a member of the assassins. The guards attempt to arrest them, then attack when they don’t agree. A skirmish occurs, with the party fear-spelling some, killing at least one, and then running down an alleyway away from a carriage with more guards in it.

The carriage heads them off and they find themselves fighting again. Following this second skirmish, a crossbow bolt ricochets off a wall next to Tahni, and they see more assassins on the rooftops, running swiftly toward them.

Sprinting for their ship in the bay amidst sporadic crossbow fire, they reach the dock where their ship was anchored. It’s been sunk in the fighting, which seems to have died down. At the dock, the captain sitting silently. As they walk up to him, he turns and says to them, “I’m sorry; they made me do it.” At this, two water elementals spring from the waters and attack, while behind them they see both guards and assassins closing in.

Escape at the Docks, Pt. 1

Atar sends a magical message to their pirate ally, Jayani, who charges in on Torrigar, her dragon turtle “ship.” But the massive chain linked across the bay’s entrance (controlled in two large towers), as well as numerous water elementals, prevents an easy entrance for even the dragon turtle. So the party are forced to defend themselves for an extended period of time while Torrigar tries to navigate toward them. He tries to melt the chain with his steam breath, but it’s not entirely successful, and he clangs against it with his snout.

The water elementals do quick damage, and one envelopes Nezima entirely, crushing her slowly. Poisoned assassin bolts fly in, and despite some magical assistance to keep Tahni invisibly hidden (she surmised that the assassins want her dead), Tahni has to leave her invisible form to heal Telchak back to consciousness.

3/4 of them are in rough shape, and Tahni has some magical abilities but isn’t terribly battle-ready. As the session ends, they know they need to hold out a bit longer until their rescue comes.

Dungeon Master Notes

They started to suspect that it was Nisma who was the betrayer, and she was. An opportunist who thrives on chaos, reconnecting the Loregiver with the Grand Caliph sounded a lot like “stability” to Nisma, who wants to see the world remain in conflict.

They don’t know this for certain, and may not know until I reveal everything post-campaign. But Nisma was only their ally because they presented an opportunity for her. She wouldn’t have betrayed them without reason, but will never actually see her again in this campaign, as she’s back in the world’s shadows.

Creatures Used

  • Assassin (CR8)
  • Guard (CR 1/8)
  • Veteran (CR3)
  • Water Elemental (CR5)

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