The Djinn of Al-Qadim

Campaign Session Report #8

By MARK WILSON

GM: Me
Setting: Al-Qadim (aka the continent of Zakhara)
System: D&D 5e
Levels: 3-?? (probably 12)

Players:
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.

Session #8

When we last left off, the party was fending off a group of Cactids near a watering hole in the desert, in an attempt to rescue the partner of a friend they’d just met in a nearby traveling caravan.

Cleanup at the Watering Hole

The fight wasn’t entirely done last week, so there was another round or so of combat to start the session. No one was at serious risk of death, since they managed the fight well (it would only have been potentially deadly had they rushed to melee range). But a few took noticeable damage, and several higher-level spells were burned.

Returning to the caravan they find it under siege by a group of wyvern riders, a group they’d heard about but not seen to this point. The party rushes in.

Defending the Caravan

There’s already a battle ongoing, with several hiding in fear, but a few NPC defenders:

  • Cassim, their guide here
  • Fatima, the caravan’s leader, who they learn later is a fairly powerful wizard
  • A hill giant angrily fending off wyverns
  • A dwarven ranger who is riding atop what appears to be a domesticated Gorgon, a metallic bull-like creature.

Telchak races forward and catches the eye of the hill giant, who allows Telchak to scurry onto his shoulder and begin attacking one of the wyverns. Telchak does a fair amount of damage…

…and then promptly dies. A wyvern turns his attention to the diminutive lizard boy and rams its venomous stinger directly through Telchak’s sternum. He falls off the hill giant, his innards pulled out.

Dalia screams and races in, also signaling Atar to rush in. The latter does so, using her final 3rd-level spell, and one of her newly acquired diamonds, to cast Revivify on Telchak. His wound heals with a great sucking sound and a light smell of farts (this will actually matter for later).

The dwarf on the Gorgon offers to take Telchak away to safety. Atar decides to trust him, and loads Telchak onto the beast’s back. The dwarf is true to his word, and the two leave the fight.

Meanwhile, now realizing the threat posed by the wyverns and their riders, the party takes to dispatching them. Two of four wyverns are killed, and three of four riders, before the remainder flee. In the fight, no one besides Telchak was seriously injured, but one of the caravan’s wagons was destroyed.

They then meet and speak with the Hill Giant (Todor) who is there with his son Raag. They also formally meet the dwarf, whose name is Jumanji Baccarat, and whose Gorgon mount is named Bullseye.

Speaking briefly with Fatima, she thanks the party and asks that they speak the next day. Weary from back-to-back fights, everyone rests.

A Goodbye to the Ghul Tribe

Waking after a long-needed rest, Rifqa and Farrah, the duo they’d helped at the watering hole, make their farewell. They say they’ll tell the story of the party’s aid to their tribe (Tribe of the Ghuls), and that should they ever have need of assistance, the Ghuls will aid them as they are able.

Fatima’s Bargain

Fatima calls them into her wagon, which is very well-appointed. The party has some pointed questions for her about the presence of the wyvern riders and what they might have been looking for. Fatima cops to having several magic items that might be worth the raid, and says that normally the riders aren’t bold enough to attack the caravan itself, usually opting to pick off stragglers who are traveling in small numbers.

They believe Fatima, though they suspect she might be hiding specifics.

Fatima then presses the party for their purpose, learning that they are traveling deep into the desert in search of their lost family and those prisoners being forced into the desert. Fatima claims to be able to help them reach their destination more quickly, but cannot leave the caravan unattended unless she can be reasonably sure that it will be safe during that time.

To that end, she asks for the party’s aid in stamping out the local camp of wyvern riders who attacked (there are others in the desert, apparently). The Gorgon-riding dwarf they met the night before is in Fatima’s employ, and would be able to accompany them on this hunt. In exchange, she’ll facilitate travel to the location they seek. Additionally, Fatima provides them with a jar of sand that will allow them to cast Hallucinatory Terrain. She believes it may aid them.

The party agrees, and plans their hunt of the wyvern riders…

DM Notes – Lonnie the Fart God

What I didn’t say earlier is that Telchak’s player was absent for this session, so his PC died in his absence, which is all kinds of terrifying! But it also allowed for some unique between-session roleplaying, particularly since he was resurrected.

Over a private online chat, I addressed Telchak’s player as Lonnie, the supposed God of Farts whom the party met earlier. Telchak had quickly become a follower of Lonnie, and as an “all things share a spark of the divine” character, Dalia didn’t try to dissuade her children from this impulse.

So as Lonnie, I took Telchak through a dreamscape where he had some input, but I left his reason for being in the dream state deliberately ambiguous.

It was an interesting digital, text-based scene, and eventually Telchak’s player put the pieces together. The scene ended with him opening his eyes with his sister looking down on him, her lone remaining diamond earring dangling in her ear, and his mother saying a silent prayer, thanking Lonnie.

This scene was then canonically inserted into the roughly 5-second span between Telchak’s death and resurrection, and made him an even more devout follower of Lonnie.

I…didn’t really know I was creating a recurring NPC when I inserted Lonnie into the campaign. He was undoubtedly the goofiest thing on any of my random charts. But the players are also having lots of fun with him, so I’m pleased.

Creatures/NPCs Used (Combat):

  • Mage (Fatima) (CR6)
  • Ranger, lvl 7 (Jumanji)
  • Gorgon (CR5)
  • Hill Giant (CR5)
  • Bandit (CR 1/8)
  • Bandit Captain (CR2)
  • Wyvern (CR6)

For more content, or just to chat, find me on Twitter @BTDungeons

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