The Djinn of Al-Qadim

Campaign Session Report #30

By MARK WILSON

GM: Me
Setting: Al-Qadim (aka the continent of Zakhara)
System: D&D 5e
Level: 9

Players:
Dahlia, the Mother – Rune Knight Fighter
Nezima, the Aunt – Hexblade Warlock
Atareeza (Atar), the Daughter – Divine Soul Sorcerer
Telchak, the Son – Soulknife Rogue

Notable NPCs:

  • Zarin: Dahlia’s husband, and father to the children.
  • Jumanji Baccarat – Dwarven Ranger, who rides a domesticated Gorgon.
  • Fatima al-Fihri – in charge of the wandering desert caravan; interested in books.
  • Jaarallah al-Samad al-Zahir – heir to the Caliphate of Huzzuz
  • Tahni al-Beyim – Loregiver of Zhakara, a reincarnated being and conduit to the gods who has ruled alongside the Grand Caliph for centuries

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

Session #30

Previously, the party had made their way south from Qudra, to a desert caravan whose leader, Fatima, they’d previously befriended and journeyed with into the desert. Jaarallah and his cohort, along with the party’s father/husband/brother-in-law is there as well.

Unpacking at the Caravan

At the gates of the caravan, Jumanji Baccarat, the dwarven hunter, greets them. They’d previously hunted wyvern riders with him. He is missing an arm from the hunt he’d asked the party to accompany him on (before they went to the pyramids), but is in good spirits.

Once inside the caravan, they catch up with their father/husband, doing the full recap of events to-date, and plot next steps. After studying a teleportation circle at the palace of Qudra enough to have destroyed it, Atar has learned the Teleportation Circle spell, and they plan to use it for some world-hopping shenanigans.

Tahni and Nezima have had visions leading them toward a temple in a desert of glassy, blue sand where they believe the key to magically rebinding the djinn exists, which would go a long way toward stopping their evil reign. To get to the area they believe it to be (after some research in the caravan’s small library), they have a journey ahead of them. The group determines to take one of Atar’s teleports to the island of Afyal, where they know a large djinn naval force is headed. From there, they’ll try to secure a ship to head toward the wild, marshy region of the world with rumored blue sands.

Several side conversations take place, including updates on the world. Huzuz is being terraformed into a fiery hellscape, seemingly in a minor version of Bakada’s original plan to bring the City of Brass from the Plane of Fire to Zakhara. Additionally, the city of Ajayib, formerly under djinn control, is in rebellion, but good information is hard to glean since it’s half the continent away.

Zarin also speaks with his children, probing Telchak about his interest in women (he brings up Tahni, but Telchak deflects this talk) and ribbing Atar about her asking for money almost immediately after they saw one another. Zarin looks healthier than when they last saw him, but his limp is still pronounced and he walks slowly with a cane.

They resupply as they’re able, notably with Atar acquiring enough diamonds to have a single Raise Dead spell prepared (swapped for Revivify). Fatima has also managed to acquire a couple magic items specifically for the party, believing they’d meet up again sometime. Dahlia gets a hammer of genie-slaying and Nezima gets a ring of spell storing.

After a couple days with the caravan, they say their goodbyes and teleport to Afyal, Isle of the Elephants, where they know a gargantuan djinn naval force is headed, with the intent of conscripting the powerful, intelligent elephant mounts into their armies.

The Abandoned Elephant Temple

They teleport into an abandoned temple with religious, elephant iconography and are immediately attacked by ghost elephants, with an angry, amnesiac elephant god speaking to them in a booming voice that permeates the whole temple. It can’t remember its name, but knows that Atar stole a bone from an elephant graveyard in a vision previously (way back in Session #3!), and so its ire is focused on her. They dispatch the elephants, who sink into the floor, pulled down by ghostly tentacles.

What Lies Beneath

Investigating the area they find themselves in a jungle wilderness, overlooking the elephant graveyard, and with the sprawling island before them. In the distance, a possible city, though it’s at least a day’s journey away. Searching the temple, they find markings of the elephant god, whose name seems to have been erased from the temple walls. Telchak finds a secret passage in the temple as well. Telchak and Atar duck in using magical abilities, and find themselves in a nearly pitch-dark cavern beneath the hewn stone of the temple itself. A large, glowing dome-like structure or creature lights up in the cavern, with veins running through it, and the duo are attacked by glowing tentacles…

Dungeon Master Notes

The teleportation circle spell is one where the DM chooses where the locations are, but I wanted Atar’s player to be happy with the options. We tied her circle knowledge to visions she’d had previously in the campaign, while under the effects of Dreambliss. This gave her three options, and I chose one (Huzuz) while she chose between the other two (Afyal and outside Ajayib). These correspond to the few large quest hubs remaining in the campaign, so it worked out well both mechanically and narratively.

Ajayib is now “closed” as a hub, though. The world’s sandbox does not exist in stasis, but moves forward as the party does.

I didn’t think they’d make it to Afyal before the teleportation circle spell, so I had to catch up on some prep. I’d only built out the roughest skeleton of this area. But I’m happy they get to explore the island.

Creatures Used:

  • Elephant (CR4)
  • War Elephant (CR7)

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