The Djinn of Al-Qadim
Campaign Session Report #37
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
Previously, the party had engaged with an undead Death Knight, former champion of the first Grand Caliph, hoping to unlock his tomb of its treasures to help in their fight against the djinn.
Death Saves & the Death Knight
The death knight hits like a truck and has ample AoE abilities, forcing the group to spread out considerably to avoid the worst of these attacks. Still, early damage from larger attacks put several of them in precarious positions.
Telchak spends much of the fight in damage control, keeping his family stable and trying to do sporadic damage from the edges of the large, cavernous room. Atar is also able to heal her family at times.
Seeing this, the knight targets Atar. And though she’s at full health, a single round of attacks from the knight takes her down. As this happens, the group converges toward her, seeing the danger. They manage to kill the knight, but cannot quickly get to Atar.
She fails her first death save, and has a second that could have brought her to full death before they’re able to stabilize her. She comes back to her senses and the party rests right there in the chamber.
Above them, the sphinx congratulates them and says they shall now receive their reward. The scroll they’d seen earlier in the initial chamber descends from a platform above them that comes out of the ceiling of the cavern. It’s hovering in the air. As the platform comes to a stop on the ground, the levitation magic ends and the scroll falls the last few feet to the ground.
Reading it, Atar is able to use a spell to decipher the text. It has instructions for binding the djinn, along with agreements of the two parties involved. Further, the Loregiver (Tahni, whom they’d rescued earlier) must be present to enact the ritual.
They head back into the stairway they’d come in, but it now goes down. They follow it to a treasure room, laden with jewels and treasures. Tons of gold enters the Bag of Holding, and they get no less than two magic carpets, among some other baubles.
Atar also finds a phylactery that, when later identified, acts as a one-time-use cheat from death, though not without some short-term consequences.
Binding or Cutting Off
They eventually head back to Muppet Village, but outside the tomb, they’re met by an Efreet. He does not motion to attack, and rather talks to them. He is a minion of Bakada who does not agree with Bakada’s course of action. The djinn broke out of their binding due to abuses by some in the land of their privilege of the genies. While the relationship was often mutually beneficial, it was still a subservient one. But Bakada is doing the same in the other direction, enslaving and subjugating.
The Efreeti believes that for each group to evolve peacefully, they must be entirely cut off. He tells them that the ritual they now possess can permanently cut off genies to the elemental planes, rather than binding them into objects (lamps, etc.) to allow them to traverse between planes. But only by performing the ritual on one of the elemental planes will do this.
He can’t force their action, but asks them to consider his advice and cast it on the Plane of Fire, to which there are various gates now opened in the land. The party is skeptical, but agrees to think on it.
The Swedish Sorcerer
Then back to Muppet Village, where they inquire about magical services. There’s only one magician, and they’re told to watch their step around him.
It’s the Swedish Chef, and he’s able to identify some magic items for them, but they have a hard time understanding what the items do since he speaks so strangely. He sells them a few others with their newfound wealth (they’ve been broke the entire campaign, so several thousand pieces of gold was a cathartic find for them). Some lovely RP follows, before they rest for the night and decide their next course of action.
Somewhere in all of this they receive a magical message from Jaarallah and his cohort, telling them forces are amassing near Hiyal. The party can’t quickly get to Hiyal, but Atar knows the magical code for a teleportation circle in Huzuz, which is far closer to Hiyal than where they are currently.
They determine to use the circle, risking walking directly into the heart of Bakada’s empire. The spell is cast and they begin to materialize half a continent away…
Dungeon Master Notes
Atar’s player was out this week, and Atar was a natural-1 away from full death. It was a harrowing moment. She can resurrect people…but not herself. I was happy it didn’t come to killing her while she was absent. But the players know this is a risk.
Very good fight otherwise. The Death Knight pushed every button they had, and 3/4 of them were down at various points in the fight. I didn’t pull punches; they simply fought well enough to stay alive.
But they got the scroll they needed to try to lock the djinn away, and I rewarded them with some additional loot.
They also got a glimpse of the Big Bad during their conversation with the Efreet, which allowed me to reveal my miniature for him…my first ever miniature paint job, which turned out remarkably well considering how little I know about miniature painting.
They have a fight next week against an archwizard in the capital city of Huzuz (where they teleported to), but don’t yet realize it. One of the carpets is also cursed, but more on that later.
- Death Knight (CR17)
Continue Reading: Session #38