The Djinn of Al-Qadim
Campaign Session Report #43
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 was about to enter into combat with Bakada, the genie merged with an elemental fire god, in the city of Huzuz.
To Kill a God
Having quaffed their fire resistance potions, the party was as prepared as they were going to be. Flanking them was an air djinn who had determined to help them after the party made the decision to spare air djinn from an earlier planar binding spell.
The fight was a lengthy one. Bakada summoned multiple fire elementals to assist him during the fight, and conjured the power of the surrounding lava to hurl balls of fiery lava at them.
Each of these did damage to all involved but armed as they were with resistances, they were not in immediate danger.
The air djinn, sadly, died midway through, not possessing of the same resistances and being more vulnerable to the attacks that seemed to rage from multiple sides.
The group stayed on their magic carpets, spreading out to avoid easy targeting by various spells.
Midway through the fight, somewhat frustrated at the lack of effectiveness of his attacks, Bakada screamed out “I do not merely control the fire. I control the sun itself! And you will all burn.” With that, a beam from the heavens shot down, engulfing nearly half the battlefield in a radiant ball of destruction.
Around them, the arena crumbled and melted. But the party stood (I rolled exceedingly poorly on damage for this particular spell, which on average should have made the rest of the fight far more dicey). All are bloodied but none went down in this powerful attack.
Beginning to doubt himself slightly, Bakada rages and begins swinging wildly with his massive sword at the party. Armed with both considerable armor class (Dahlia) and magical shenanigans to shunt melee attacks (he accidentally kills one of his elementals this way) and counter a single spell (which is wisely used on a powerful spell), the party stave of unconsciousness for a couple of them, since none in the party were so hardy that a couple strong blows from Bakada couldn’t put them down.
Nezima delivers the final blow, and a spectral form emerges from Bakada’s crumbling husk. The form seemed made of translucent fire and bears an angry face.
At this, Cherry Bean the couatl emerges from a nearby hiding place and begins to weave a magical loop around the form, a trail of golden energy tailing it as it flew. The form cries out, but then vanishes in a golden explosion that then implodes on itself and disappears into nothing.
“It is done,” says the newborn couatl. “Thank you. Living has been fun.” And with that, it dissipates into golden sparks with a smile.
There is still a battle and copious lava flows and enemies throughout the city, but the following moments are handled narratively instead of in combat, with the purging of the city of Bakada’s forces, and the subsequent weeks in Huzzuz.
Jaarallah is reinstated as Grand Caliph and rebuilding begins. Pockets of Bakada’s control remain throughout the continent, so plans are drawn up to slowly retake parts of the empire and reabsorb them into the caliphate.
Return of the Crab God
Some weeks later, while sleeping in her quarters in the palace, Dahlia is awakened by her ghost cat, Blue. Leading her outside, there is a group of giant crabs.
Then some follow-up exposition, including the reinstatement of the Grand Caliph and tentative rebuilding efforts. Followed by the next (and final) boss fight buildup. They’d been courting a 50-foot-tall crab demigod (Kar’rr’ga) for much of the campaign, using its bloodlust to help conquer and weaken their enemies. But in not dealing with the crab forces, their power has grown.
So a giant talking crab at the head of this little group heralds his master’s coming. Dahlia has been the liaison for the crabs previously, and has been called Dark Mistress of the Crabs by various crabs.
They reveal her unwillingness to join Kar’rr’ga’s army by asking her directly if she is now ready to become part of the crab army and lead them to glory. When she refuses, they inform her that she doesn’t have a choice in the matter. Their master is coming to convert her into his chief lieutenant, to lead the crabs in glorious conquest throughout Zakhara. In the distance, screams begin to emanate from the city, in the direction of the harbor…
Dungeon Master Notes
I would have liked a touch more challenge to the fight, but it was still generally satisfying. Their cleverness and preparedness paid off in saving very particular abilities and spells to counter Bakada at key moments. Elementals were charmed out of the fight, melee attacks were redirected, and a single powerful spell was countered. Any of those things could have pushed the fight into far more dangerous territory.
I also can’t manufacture drama if the dice don’t comply, and it still took us just over two hours to complete the combat. It felt good.
Crab god up next, which will be another tough one. That whole plot line has been goofy as hell, but it also flows directly from earlier player actions.
- Bakada (stats heavily modified from a Balor)
- Djinni (CR11)
- Fire Elemental (CR5)
Continue Reading: Session #44