The Djinn of Al-Qadim
Campaign Session Report #6
By MARK WILSON
Setting: Al-Qadim (aka the continent of Zakhara)
System: D&D 5e
Levels: 3-?? (probably 12)
Dalia, the Mother – Rune Knight Fighter
Nezima, the Aunt – Hexblade Warlock
Atareeza (Atar), the Daughter – Divine Soul Sorcerer
Telchak, the Son – Soulknife Rogue
For full setting, campaign and character notes, please start from the beginning of the session report series.
The party begin exploring the Shadow Market, the extraplanar time nexus, where they quickly meet the buyer of the item they’re delivering. Gallavon the Wizard, a traditionally robed, bearded wizard who seems rather absent-minded. He stumbles into the party and introduces himself, before whistling sharply.
At this, a tyrannosaurus rex roars and races toward them, with a small red-headed toddler gleefully riding it. “Daddy, can I have a wand?” she asks. “You already have 10,” he replies. “But I want another!” she says, and she slides off of the dino, slipping and landing hard on her head. Gallavon explains that the collar they’re delivering is for the dino, and is magically enchanted to protect both the dino and its rider. Which he needs, as they can see from his precocious daughter flitting about.
In exchange, he roots around in his magically cavernous pockets but can’t find any money. But he does find several magic items, and the party agrees to barter with him, each gaining a magic item. Magical shield for Dalia, some chalk that can create doorways for Nezima, an Aba (robe) that provides some extra protection and aids against exhaustion for Atar, and a compass rose that can be split into two parts and track the other within 100 miles for Telchak.
The girl bounds off on the T-Rex again, and returns shortly with a new wand that she definitely shouldn’t have. During her absence, though, they learn from Gallavon that the Shadow Market exists on the ethereal plane and is also a time nexus. They’ll (more-or-less) return to their own time when they leave, but everyone else in the market could be from different eras of the world, or different planes of existence.
The young girl returns and shows off her Wand of Fireballs, and begins using it. Taking this as his cue, Gallavon races after her, thanking the party.
Return to the Dream Hut
They also explored another Dream Hut in the market, and Nezima followed some whispers she heard in her mind. Or rather, it’s the same hut they encountered earlier in Huzzuz, but the woman they met previously was just a child this time. More lucid dreaming for Atar and Nezima though.
Nezima (the aunt) solved the problem of a naval fleet by praying for a disaster. A hurricane came, destroying the fleet but also sending her overboard on her own ship. She has an item in her pocket following this, a jar that seemingly cannot be opened or broken.
Atar spoke with a female vampire who told her that the one who sent her here is just as evil as she is. This doesn’t mean much to Atar, who refuses to join with the vampire. The vampire leaps at Atar and tries to bite her, but Atar manages to hit the vampire with an attack, avoiding the sting of its bite as the dream fades.
They leave the market shortly thereafter, having completed their delivery. They find a few days have passed in their world, though nothing else has changed.
Villa Qadira and the Resistance
Having no other leads for their Azer contact, Zazzle, they head to Villa Qadira, where the street urchin had directed them.
They were concerned of a trap, but needn’t have been. They are greeted by Zazzle and Lady Akura Qadira in her well-appointed estate just outside the city. They’re then asked to give up their weapons (which they do reluctantly), and introduced to a teenage boy, who they find meditating in the estate’s temple. He introduces himself as Jaarallah al-Samad al-Zahir, heir to the Caliphate of Huzzuz and grandson of the late Grand Caliph.
What follows is a lot of exposition over dinner, where they learn of Jaarallah’s story, and that of his allies, though Dalia is skeptical of his story, thinking it’s too convenient.
But they are treated warmly and given information on the djinn forces. Forces that are amassing and moving, and beginning to do crueler things than ever before. It’s forced Jaarallah and his allies to expand their presence to try to gain information and allies. The name and seal of the Grand Caliph could act as a rallying point for those who dislike the Djinn rule.
But in the short-term, they need information, allies, and to undermine djinn efforts in various areas of the world. They’re told of various theaters where the djinn are acting, and asked to help.
The party agrees, but establishes that they’re most interested in saving their patriarch (father/grandfather) and Dalia’s husband, both of whom were taken at the same time they were. But they were taken away, potentially into the desert. Information is sparse, but they have a general area to begin searching.
Insofar as their interests align, they’ll be happy to help.
Jaarallah also informs them that they intercepted news along the road of the party’s escape from Huzzuz, and that soon they’ll be known outlaws even here in Hiyal. But Zazzle vouches for their resourcefulness, so they’re tasked with gaining information about the detainees being taken into the desert, and given supplies and rations to aid them, as well as a guide.
During all of this, the entire family makes Atar self-conscious, since she and Jaarallah are of similar age. Telchak’s ribbing is the worst, and Atar is visibly nervous. She ends up sleeping in a bush to avoid Jaarallah, who attempts to track her down and talk with her calmly. But she is so embarrassed that he doesn’t know how to handle the exchange, and quickly excuses himself after offering some words of encouragement.
The party sleeps and prepares to leave the following day.
Gallavon is a recurring NPC of mine who has shown up in a couple campaigns. A Doctor Who analog, complete with a bit of plane-hopping and possibly even time travel. My voice for him is my impression of David Tennant.
And the redheaded girl is an old PC of mine, though of course I played her as an adult. It was a fairly obvious Easter Egg for the party, but I had fun with it.
No combat, though there was one encounter they could have found in the Shadow Market. Which is fine. This was always going to be a session heavy on exposition. But now they know the world around them, and can determine their direction accordingly.
I didn’t go into detail on the various other hooks they could have chosen, but each led to a distinct part of the world with various problems related to the genie rule.
And the Atar embarrassment stuff was cute, though I was hoping for a little bit more long-term potential as a love interest. Ah well. It’s likely not the last they’ll see Jaarallah, and the dynamic between her and Telchak is one of the more delightful emergent treats of the entire campaign thus far.