The Djinn of Al-Qadim
Campaign Session Report #35
By MARK WILSON
Setting: Al-Qadim (aka the continent of Zakhara)
System: D&D 5e
Dahlia, the Mother – Rune Knight Fighter
Nezima, the Aunt – Hexblade Warlock
Atareeza (Atar), the Daughter – Divine Soul Sorcerer
Telchak, the Son – Soulknife Rogue
- Zumurrud al-Afyal, “Daughter of the Island” – Empress of the island of Afyal, capital city of Medina.
- Walshy the Silent – Afyalian ship captain of “The Silent Fury”
For full setting, campaign and character notes, please start from the beginning of the session report series.
Previously, the party had prepared to take a fishing vessel out into a hurricane in order to steal a larger ship, either to take on the water genie leading the djinn forces against Afyal or to sail to a temple that they believe holds answers to helping them end the war.
Rethinking the Plan
Realizing that riding a fishing boat into a hurricane probably isn’t a good idea, the party instead opt to take a writ of passage from Zumuruud to the neighboring city of Kasal (about 3 days’ journey), on the outskirts of the storm. There, they’re granted a ship, which they choose to sail away from the island, toward The Grey Jungle, where they believe a temple to be that will unlock secrets to re-binding the djinn and hamstringing their leadership in Zakhara.
Behind them as they leave, they see the hurricane beginning to dissipate slowly.
We roll randomly for ship name and crew. The Silent Fury is captained by Walshy the Silent. The universe has a sense of humor. The whole crew speaks in sign language. Much confusion abounds in subsequent scenes.
Random Sea Encounters
- I have some fun with my random charts and roll the following for them:
A reverse merhorse (body of a horse, head of a fish) running on an island. The sailors say the island is cursed. Telchak and Atar look on enthusiastically.
- A sea god emerges in front of Atar, followed by another, and demands that she be arbiter for their underwater kingdom dispute. She ends up talking them into (reluctantly) holding democratic elections to resolve the dispute.
- Nezima uncovers a plot for mutiny, and investigates. It ends up being a birthday party. Cake is served.
Three weeks later, they arrive on the beaches of blue sand, where they believe their temple to be.
The Blues Sands
Nezima goes into a trance to try to discern information. This takes nearly an hour. Meanwhile, Dahlia goes for a swim. The children, left to their own devices, concoct a heroes’ journey arc for themselves and decide they “can’t go back.” Which means they have to burn their rowboat to cinders. Further out, the main ship looks on in confusion as Nezima and Dahlia yell at the kids for this rash decision.
Nezima’s vision is interrupted by Bakada himself, who reiterates that the binding plan won’t work. Nezima gets a glimpse of Bakada’s new, terrible form.
Atar then flies high into the air (almost too high, as she doesn’t leave enough time to get back down and takes falling damage). But she takes the Spyglass and sees a village in a jungle several miles away. They head toward it, and are just in time for “the ceremony.”
The ceremony is…the “Boom Shaka-laka” scene from Muppet Treasure Island. That’s not a joke. Well, it is. But it’s also accurate. I literally played the music in the background, while a boar-like female humanoid (the Queen) emerged on the stage and thanked all of her loyal subjects. The party learns this happens every few days. Her husband, Kermit the Halfling, kicks things off with a few words.
They enjoy a feast for a bit before asking around and gaining council with the village’s elders, to seek aid in finding the temple.
The elders are D&D versions of Sam the Eagle (aarakocra), Sweetums (a Yakman), and Janice (human). The party spill the beans, and Sam tells them that reinstituting the rule of the Grand Caliphate would be un-American. Confusion abounds, but Sam perks up when he learns that Atar helped institute democracy in the sea kingdoms earlier.
Ultimately, after a lot of negotiation, the elders agree to help. Alas, they have no idea where the temple is, and they abruptly leave, leaving the party stunned and without leads.
The Moonbeam Connection
Nezima flies up into the air, again trying to figure something out, surveying the blue-grey sandy landscape in the area. She realizes that it’s nearly a full moon, but is unsure if that’s relevant.
Meanwhile, the remaining three get a room at a seedy tavern (with a doglike creature playing the piano and a were-bear on a stage telling bad jokes), and Kermit (who I didn’t actually name, it should be noted; but the voice and role gave it away) finds them. He says he noticed them at the ceremony and didn’t recognize them, then inquired about why they’re here.
He’s seen the temple they speak of, during the night when he’s singing in the swamps. He leads them outside and pulls out a banjo. Kermit proceeds to sing a song – The Moonbeam Connection – at the end of which the trees in front of them part and they see a moonbeam streaking across the sands in the distance. At its end, mists swirl, and in them they see the temple.
The vision fades, but they now know how to find the temple, and know that the following night will be a full moon. They sleep in the tavern that night, prepared to set out the next day.
DM’s Note: I actually sang the song, improvising some lines to jive with the campaign but largely based on The Rainbow Connection.
Dungeon Master Notes
I did not have Muppet Village in my notes. I didn’t even have a regular village in my notes. About 90% of this session was improvised, because I had the temple prepped (that they didn’t make it to), and I had a bunch of stuff back at Afyal prepped, which they skipped entirely.
So it ended up being one of our goofiest sessions. Good fun was had by all. My only regret is that Dahlia’s player wasn’t there for it, and she’s a big Muppet fan.
Continue Reading: Session #36