Session 15, Part 2

  By Shamus   Jan 11, 2007   26 comments

The army storms the city of Crossway and slaughters the meager undead forces within. Aside from grave walkers, they find a few shambling zombies. This raises a few eyebrows. Such servants have been beneath the Lich King until now. Is his power failing?

Scouts cover the city and return an hour later with their report: This town was bombarded from the northwest. On that side of town they found evidence that another army had attacked the city. There are broken and burned siege machines that have been pushed off of the road just outside of town.

This explains the sudden widthdrawl five days earlier. The party gathers and discusses these signs. Here is how they interpret events: Mordan was battling them at the bridge when he was unexpectedly attacked from the north by forces unknown. He was obliged to recall his forces to the city to defend it. By the time these forces arrived the city was already in ruins. But the unliving have no real need for towns except as a place to find future victims. Undaunted by the destruction of their base, they pushed the Northern attackers back towards Fort Bolland.

Mar Tesaro
click for full view. (134k)


It takes the better part of a day to move the army through the ruined city, and another day of travel to reach Fort Bolland. There they find Mordan’s forces swarming around the city, climbing up the walls any trying to overwhelm the defenders. The Alidian / Dwarven alliance comes down on the rear of the undead mass, acting as the hammer to the city’s anvil. At last they get a look at the forces that have been troubling Mordan’s rear flank. They are elves! It’s Sagemaster!

This is a nice tie-in to out first campaign. In the climax of that story, the players sabotaged the defenses of a city so that Sagemaster Teerin could land his ships. Teerin bailed them out at the end of that campaign, and they made friends with him. At the start of THIS campaign they were traveling to see him before they got shipwrecked on this island.

It’s hard to convey what a big moment this was. Throughout this campaign they have wanted to get a message to him and ask for help. His father imprisoned Mordan the first time. He’s quite old and powerful. (Think Elrond, only not nearly as famous. He usually has a strict non-intervention policy, but the players seem to have a knack for getting him to leave his island.)

There was much cheering around the table when the players realized they had not only beaten Mordan’s army without Teerin’s help, but had showed up just in time to rescue him. It’s not every day you get to return a favor to a high-level character.

The armies crash into one another. The Dwarven / Alidian alliance begins hacking at the rear of the undead army, while arrows and spells pummel Mordan’s forces from over the city walls.

As the undead rapidly thin, Mordan rises above the fray and reveals himself at last. He is withered, and his skin is the color of ash. His robes are little more than black tatters that swirl around his gaunt frame. A black crown rests on top of his head, a circle of cruel spikes pointing upward and outward. His eyes are two points of cold light shining from within his empty sockets. He holds his staff aloft and moves his mouth, but they can hear no sound. The undead are driven to a frenzy. The battle intensifies. The heroes rush forward to face him.

Yes, a “Boss Fight”. They don’t know it, but sealing the Orb within the box cut off a majority of Mordan’s power and weakened him even more. This reduced him (as luck would have it!) to a “wizard” strong enough to give a decent battle to a group of level 5-6 characters. He still had his undead army to command, but the moment the orb was sealed he was unable to make more.

Fireballs fly and the players surround Mordan. The soldiers in their company make short work of the various undead, leaving this battle between Mordan and the heroes. Fire falls down on him. He responds in kind. The heroes are tossed about by his spells, but they can see his power has failed him. He is at last truly outmatched. They strike him down. The ground shakes and the remaining undead collapse. A wail escapes his putrid mouth as he collapses in on himself and vanishes.

They look southward. From here the trees and hills of Bolwood block their view of the mountain, but they know he’s there, trapped under a mountain of stone and sealed in magic beyond his power.

He’s finished.

Teerin strides out of the city to meet them. He helps tend the wounded and then meets with the party in the remains of Lorman’s castle, which he’s been using as his base since he arrived. They talk about Grey Moor and Eomer gets some news of his homeland.

The chat with Teerin mostly dealt with what was going on back in Grey Moor, the site of the first campaign. This was a long conversation and it would be pointless to attempt to relate it here, even if I remembered half of it, which I don’t.

One detail that might be of interest here is the message they were sent way back in Session 1. At the start of the campaign, they got two letters: One from the Coucil of Grey Moor and another letter from Teerin. The council asked them to come home at once. (That is, return to Grey Moor.) Teerin’s letter asked them to stop by his island and talk to him first, before they got involved. Everyone has been curious what this was about. They got shipwrecked here and ended up getting sucked into this adventure, but it’s been bugging them all this time: What was going on back in Grey Moor?

Teerin explains: The Council was raking in cash by selling weapons to the Lormanites. The war was a nice source of income, and they knew that if the war ended that source of wealth would dry up. They were going to send the players to this town (Fort Bolland) to help hold the city and keep the cash flowing back home. Teerin was going to caution them against getting involved.

But all of this became moot when Fort Bolland fell, and the shipwreck more or less forced them to get involved anyway.

So the campain started with a message to come home, which should have led to a warning to avoid this island, but they never made it home, never got the warning, and were stuck here anyway.

Teerin explains his side of the story: The moment Mordan had been freed, he sensed it. As soon as he could, he assembled what forces he had and sailed for Fort Bolland. Mordan sent his birds (which would burn ships into the sea) but such tricks were not a problem for Teerin, who is far more in touch with nature and wild beasts than Mordan. He arrived and joined with the few poeple still alive in Fort Bolland, then moved south to liberate Crossway.

If I hadn’t changed the campaign so that the Dwarves and Sagemaster arrived at more or less the same time (within a week of each other) then all of this would have played out very differently. Still, this wasn’t a bad ending.

By this time it was late and everyone was sleepy, so we sort of plowed through the rest of the session quickly.

Skeeve: I go south and cure the Queen.

Me: Okay great. You do. She’s grateful.

Not exactly epic, but at least we tied up the loose ends.

While in Fol Thron, the party meets up with Beck again. He made it through the Dwarven assault of Telwin Port, and they gather that he had a big part in rallying the city defense. He’s glad to see eveyone pulled through.

In the end, the Dwarves do claim the mountain. However, since they can’t set foot on it, they build a city at the foot of the mountain – which they now properly call Fiore. They take control of the city of Della Minera (peacefully, although with some minor political haggling) and expand the town at a rapid pace.

The Dwarves act as guardians, telling people to Keep Off The Mountain. This gives them the illusion of ownership and kinship with the mountain that they desired long ago. It really was a point of pride for them, that the greatest mountain in the world wasn’t theirs. Well, it still isn’t theirs, but they are closer to it than anyone else, which makes them about as happy as Dwarves ever get. They bow to the mountain and pay it respect from a safe distance.

Once the Queen is healed, she requires several days alone. Then she meets with the Heroes again. With the curse lifted and the searing pain gone, she is a different person. The Citadel is opened up, and light is allowed in for the first time in over a century. Her country is in absolute shambles. Her army is all but gone and their chief source of income is now off limits. However, with the iron grip of the government loosening, there is hope that they can make a healthy recovery over the next few years.

The players negotiate to have the remaining slaves (the Lormanite army) set free. The slaves are freed without ceremony and sent packing. Nobody really likes the Lormanites (they did start the war that set this whole mess in motion) but there is no need for slaves, and nobody wants them around. The Queen renounces her claim to Crossway and all cities North. This gesture is mostly symbolic, as she doesn’t have the forces to control those places, and there are precious few people left there anyway. Crossway itself is more or less obliterated. Most of the population was slain to build Mordan’s army, and the city itself was ravaged by Mordan and then pummeled by Teerin’s forces. It is likely to remain a ruin for a long time to come.

They learn that some of the smaller northern cities escaped Mordan’s wrath. Joland Village and Breakshore were spared. Woodhurst – a small town between Fort Boland and Crossway – was put to the torch, but many of the inhabitants fled to the wilderness and survived.

Garret decides he wants to continue traveling. The players give him a little money and wish him well. He’s not going to be slaying dragons anytime soon, but they do hope he doesn’t get himself into any real trouble. He still has no interest in the crown, which is good for everyone involved.

Beck decides to sail with Sagemaster, who will be stopping at Grey Moor on his way home. He is at last going to get home and marry Talla.

End of the Campaign.
20626 comments. Hurry up and add yours before it becomes passé.


  1. Gothmog says:

    Hooray!! All’s well that ends well! :)

  2. -Chipper says:

    Wow! Thanks for letting us all get a glimpse. Must have been fun.

    I’m left with several questions, if you don’t mind…
    1. Why didn’t the players offer to heal the queen of her blindness the next time they saw her, rather than waiting until after Mordan was defeated?
    2. I’d love an extra post to kinda debrief us on the campaign creation vs how it played out- How much of what happened HAD to happen to make the campaign turn out good? (i.e., if they never freed Mordan, then it would have been much different, but maybe would have presented insurmountable problems regarding their moving without the authorities capturing them.) How much did you ‘have them on rails’? Obviously, defeating Mordan was the biggest thing they would have to do; chucking the orb in Fiore’s box was a good solution, did you have others in mind for them? Is that the reason that Mordan would lose power w/ each time he came back – to allow another solution? Were there other major plot points that they somehow missed?

    Just curious. Cheers.

  3. Bogan the Mighty says:

    Chipper
    I’m pretty sure we didn’t heal her right off that bat so that we could keep a trump card just incase she tried something on us. It might have been unlikely that she would, but we were a rather paranoid group of people by that point because of a certain DM in charge. Of course I could be completely wrong because my memory sucks. Also you should have seen some of our own personal solutions for gettring rid of the orb. Most of them seemed to include sacrificing Skeeve which we were willing to make the sacrifice for the greater good of our peace and quiet among the group.

  4. SteveDJ says:

    *sniff* I’m kinda sad now; this wonderful campaign has come to an end. Now what am I going to have to look forward to on Tuesdays and Thursdays?

    Well, let me at least offer many, many thanks for sharing this campaign with us all. Great job! Great campaign, I wish I could’ve been playing in it!

    P.S. “Not exactly epic…” Now now, has some of your ‘DM of the Rings’ started to rub off into this blog? :-)

    P.P.S. Knowing how WordPress works (thanks to an earlier comment/answer you gave), I see that as of today, there are an additional 5 posts to this “D&D Campaign” Category that will be rolling out in the days ahead — what have you got planned? Oooh, I can’t wait…

  5. Shamus says:

    Steve: Sadly, those 5 new posts are OLD posts. I took those gargantuan posts for the first three sessions and broke them into Part 1, 2, 3, etc as I did for later sessions. This is just a housekeeping thing that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It will also make it easier to link back to specific events in the story as needed.

  6. 808 says:

    faaantastic. thanks for the great read!!

  7. Deoxy says:

    Yay! A happy ending! Very cool…

    Wait… that means…. IT’S OVER! Oh NO! I mean, oh good. I could have qquit anytime, anyway…

    Seriosuly, though – thanks for sharing! It was great reading (even just the more “summary” posts at the end), and I appreciate it.

  8. Bogan the Mighty says:

    Shamus you do know that this means we have to give the fans more of what they want right? Encore I say!

  9. Skeeve the Impossible says:

    Chipper, I didn’t heal the queen right away for a number of reasons.
    One as Bogan the Mighty said we wanted a trump card to play if needed
    but that was sort of medi game thinking
    2nd Skeeve was wrapped up in the orb, Mordan and all the evil my character was lugging around. He was very mentally fatigued and had more important things to worry about.
    thirdly Skeeve has great respect for leaders but he gets rather angry at unjust rulers who use their position for things other than the greater good. Curse or no curse Skeeve never approved of the Queens techniques of rule. Therefore by withholding the cure from her for a time it gave Skeeve the position to be (in his mind) her savior and forgiver.
    I had plans of sitting down with the queen and attempting to show her the true error of her ways. Skeeve figured this to be a safe course of action with little negative recourse because I held the key to her true happiness. But alas I chose brevity and a comfy nights sleep instead of a long in game conversation. It was late
    And thanks to everyone who read and enjoyed our campaign.
    it really was a blast to play through as it was filled with much fun and hilarity. I’d say I wish you could all have been there but that would have made the room very cramped :)

  10. Patrick says:

    And just so we’re all clear about things that actually MATTER, Eomier ( with A FRIGGIN ‘I’ DAMMIT! ) had the most kills in the final battle. And yes it was fun.

  11. Dimitris says:

    Very nice campaign log. Congratulations !

    We are also logging our campaign, “DL War of the lance” -heavily modified-, in the following link. There are 46 sessions for now, two groups running in parallel. Unfortunately the log is in Greek, but you may find some interesting ideas.

    http://rpgnet.gr/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1707&sid=a1198e3df3abbd81261c9288fa8562a6

    Dimitris

  12. Nick says:

    Awesome! I really enjoyed reading this, and am glad that I found it late enough to read it all the way through! :P

    I was drawn in by DM of the Rings as well, but this really hooked me once I started reading. I’ve only had one experience with D&D, our DM was pretty freestyle, inexperienced, and had to deal with what had to be one of the most difficult players ever (After a big argument the DM just gave up and we ended up burning down an entire forest so that we could get to a tower in the middle of it).

    -Nick

  13. MH says:

    Skeeve: I go south and cure the Queen.
    Me: Okay great. You do. She’s grateful.

    I lol’d.

    Anyway, nicely run campaign all around, too bad the audio sessions are lost. Still, I enjoyed reading through this a lot.

    Sweet water and light laughter etc.

  14. kilian says:

    wow, thanks for writing all that down. that was an amazing campaign. makes me really miss my d&d days

  15. Myk says:

    I like this publishing of the campaign idea, It would be a great tool for me and my gamers as well as just awesome in general.

  16. MisterE says:

    Shamus,

    Awesome campaign … sob … makes me miss roleplaying for all the years past now. Had many great sessions and share some ideas if you are interested. Great job in the chronicling of the campaign and the ideas therein such as the Mini Games, Orb and Mordan.

    Mordan is such a familiar name for some reason.

    I would love to get more details about Endo as I have a Monk that I always played and am writing a story based on a Monk Character that I am playing the in game Neverwinter Nights …which I love (yeah yeah … friends dont roleplay anymore (all of us have kids and all), so at least I get a visual and somewhat relation to D&D and that kind of stuff.

    Your site is awesome. You have great gamers as friends and by the sounds of it, a wife dedicated to the cause of seeing this to fruition.

    Congrats and cheers,

    Ed

  17. Ed says:

    Gah! I finished the stoy and now I’m sad to see it go! Thanks Shamus and group!

  18. Ryan says:

    I just finished my second read-through of this campaign. It’s still as great as ever, and I’m looking forward to getting any scraps of the subsequent campaign!

  19. Arelion says:

    Wow, this was awesome Shamus! Too bad I didn’t find this whole write up before now. Fascinating ideas which I hope to steal in the future. It’s a shame that it is so hard to find people to role-play with nowadays…

  20. Rhi says:

    Okay, having read through this whole thing, all I can say is WOW! Actually got here via the TV Tropes website, and have made my way through the campaign. Really makes me want to break out the dice again, if only I knew where to find a group.

    But fantastic ideas written up beautifully, and I can just imagine how fun this must have been to actually play out.

    • Epitaph says:

      HELLO FROM THE FUTURE.

      I also got here from the TV Tropes site, and I am glad I did. Amazing story, DM and party. Great work Shamus and co.

  21. Shanti says:

    2009! I’m a bit late, but my God, this is good stuff. Thank you so much for putting out all the energy to share it! I’d love to read more of your campaign summaries if you every are crazy enough to write more of them down!

  22. Padz says:

    Thanks for an excelent read! I’ve been reading this over the past few days and it brings back many good memories. I will now read DM of the rings and then your book!

  23. Ivellios the Majestic says:

    Wow, bravo! That was the most fantastic storyline I have heard for a D&D campaign in a while. I was drawn in from the very first Session and in a two day read I finished this campaign. A short campaign none the less, but amazingly productive and filled with so much fun. I really enjoyed how most of the campaign was problem solving and not simply “Encounter, town for a day, encounter, woods, encounter.” This really brings a new perspective on my DMing in general and gives me several ideas. And the fact that you had NPC’s along to act as your Deus ex Machina without actually having to intervene was fantastic. Again I restate my bravo! I will be looking into your work in the future. Skeeve, you were (in good reason ;D) my favorite character. As a magic lover I followed your decisions for major actions with great intrest. I really enjoyed how you played your character with great flawlessness. You treated every situation with grace and from the perspective of a self taught Wizard. I give this story the highest praise I could possibly give, and I am looking forward to another campaign some day. Keep up the good work; Ivellios the Majestic

  24. Gabe says:

    Ivellios? That was in name of a ranger in my party a year ago, in our last campaign before that DM quit. I miss that campaign. Nothing compared to your epic adventure, but I guess you are all far more experienced players. I’ve only been playing for about 2 years now.

  25. n00b says:

    If you’re looking for another campaign to read, this one is… hilarious.

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