The Djinn of Al-Qadim

Campaign Session Report #36


GM: Me
Setting: Al-Qadim (aka the continent of Zakhara)
System: D&D 5e
Level: 10

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

Session #36

Previously, the party had located the temple in which the First Grand Caliph is buried. In it, they hope to uncover the secrets that will allow them

Leaving Muppet Forest

Having ended our Muppet interlude from last session (with a few parting shots as they leave the village), they walk out to and enter the actual temple that they were headed to find. Tomb of the first Grand Caliph, and inside is a key to fighting back against the djinn.

As they head in its direction, the sky and stars change, and they realize that they’re in some pocket realm, not under the sky of Zakhara.

Tomb of the Grand Caliph

The temple/tomb itself has a large crescent moon, nearly 100 feet long, built into the structure. Blue pillars line either side, and a large doorway sits in the center, up a long flight of stairs.

Inside, a nondescript stone room, with a cell at the far end. And inside, a scroll hovering in the air. Some attempts to nab the scroll fail, and they hear a voice boom all around them. It welcomes them and asks what they seek and why. The party answers truthfully.

The voice says the scroll will be theirs if they prove worthy. The Caliph prized intelligence, strength of character, and strength in battle. Pass his challenges and the knowledge they seek will be theirs.

Doors open in the stone walls, leading downward into a large, cave-like chamber. In the back of the cave, looming over them from the shadows, an Androsphinx, who they learn is the source of the voice. And in the room’s center, floating inert above the ground, a solitary figure in dark armor, wielding a deathly black axe.

Tests of Intelligence

Four doors open in the cave, two on either side. Above them, symbols of the four major elements. They are bidden to enter and test their cunning. In the room of water, a simple riddle, which they solve. The room’s walls, lined with water, then form into a water elemental, which stares at them before dissipating into the stonework.

Then, the air room, wherein a musical puzzle confounds them for a handful of minutes before it’s solved and they speak the password that the musical notes referred to. Swirling air in the room dissipates.

In each, they get a stone that swirls with elemental energy for passing the test.

Then, then earth room, but this time Telchak is too eager and tries to teleport across a small chasm to grab the Earth Stone. He hits a magical barrier and falls 100 feet to a rocky cave floor and is attacked by an earth elemental. Another emerges soon after, and the rest have to head down after him.

They clear the fight, but not without taking some considerable damage (mainly Dahlia and Telchak). When they fly back up to the main room, the earth stone is gone.

Lastly, in the fire room, Atar is subjected to a walk across magically hot coals. Despite her resistance to fire damage, she risks going down. The sphinx voice utters a passage of resolve before she begins, and the party interprets this to mean she shouldn’t stop going step by step even if it means death. She does so, and begins to be healed instead of damaged, just as she is losing consciousness. A fire elemental that was at the ready dissipates before them.

Test of Character

Stepping out, the sphinx prepares them a feast and bids them to eat, telling them they will get that which they deserve.

They try to suss out a puzzle, but ultimately just eat. We proceed to have a conversation about alignment, and when it’s determined that each is “Good” alignment of some sort, they all consume the feast and receive various small (and temporary) boons. Above them looms the dark humanoid figure, and they assume (correctly) that this is the final test.

Test of Strength

The sphinx tells them that combat with the Grand Caliph’s Champion, preserved for centuries, will be the final test. It wishes them well, but cannot intervene. If they are to succeed, the treasure they seek will be theirs.

With that, the group readies themselves. In a flash, the dark figure is among them. It rolls poorly for initiative, but clearly has tough armor and a host of powers and abilities. Once it has a chance to attack, it moves between the whole group and strikes the ground. A large sphere of thunderous arcane energy erupts from the spot where it strikes and envelopes the entire party. Many are near unconsciousness just from this single attack. They spread out to avoid this happening again.

It then engages with Dahlia and Nezima, and begins hacking them up. Dahlia manages to evade its last couple strikes on its next turn, either of which would have put her down.

As we left off, we were mid-combat, with no one doing truly well and the party teetering on the edge of disaster.

Dungeon Master Notes

The champion is a Death Knight, mechanically speaking, and I’m fighting very smart with him. No easy wins, and using all of his spells to max effect. We’ll see if they can pull off the win next week. I think they will, but doubt it will be without one or more going down. He hits like a truck and has a lot of tough abilities. Burning him down quickly is their best bet, because they’ll lose a protracted fight.

Creatures Used:

  • Earth Elemental (CR5)
  • Death Knight (CR17)

Continue Reading: Session #37