*** Potential Spoilers ***
The adventure described below is loosely based on the great sword-and-sorcery novelÂ Throne of the Crescent MoonÂ by Saladin Ahmed. I think what happens in the game is probably different enough from what happens in the novel that nothingâ€™s gonna get ruined, but things change in play, and I might end up using some plot point from the book that reveals a little too much. Iâ€™ll try not to let that happen, but you have been warned.
Oh, and you should also go readÂ Throne of the Crescent Moon, because itâ€™s a fantastic book.
Last Sunday, after a lenghty hiatus ((Caused by the fact that it’s hard to schedule people for a casual game during the summer months, especially when the majority of the players have kids. Also, it’s been a pretty busy summer for me.)), we managed to get the gang together to wrap up theÂ Throne of the Crescent Moon inspired adventure I’ve been running. It looked – right up to the last minute – like we might have a full house, but then someone had to cancel ((We missed you, Br. Linton!)), so we had four out of five players.
Because of the long stretch between the last game and this one, everyone was kind of fuzzy on what was going on and why the characters were doing stuff, so we opened with a pretty in-depth recap. I had been completely unsure about what the group would plan to do with the information they had uncovered last time, so I was pretty much flying by the seat of my pants on this session. I had a stack of stats, and some half-formed ideas about various options, but nothing really solid, because I didn’t know which way the group would jump.
After some discussion ((Which, of course, ran pretty far afield from the game for a bit.)), he gang decided that the main goal was killing Mouw Awa, because he had pissed them off the most. Oh, and they also figured that they should probably stop Dhamsawaat from staging a ghul-backed coup of Belys. Investigation of the sewers, where they had last encountered Dhamsawaat, located the entry to the crypt where they had faced him previously. Unfortunately, that entry was a rectangle of runes carved in the bricks, similar to aÂ teleport circle.
This entry seemed to open an actual physical passage to a remote location, rather than teleporting people there. And it was closed with some sort of key or passphrase that the group didn’t know. So, they set up a blind in the sewers, and decided to camp there until the next night without moonlight ((I rolled a d8 to get the number of nights they’d have to weight, and got a 7. After two nights, they said, “Screw this,” and went and paid a seer to tell them when the next moonless night would be.)). When the gate opened, they went charging down into the crypt, which was once again full of ghuls.
Mouw Awa was there, of course, and he did his level best to mess the crew up. The ghuls were are minions, so were an annoyance but not much more. And in behind them all, Dhamsawaat was working some strange ritual that the players didn’t even notice until about three rounds in.
Because of their history with him, our heroes concentrated everything on Mouw Awa, dropping him to about 8 hp in the first round. Then he possessed the team’s tank and went to town on the others. Things got kinda messy after that, but the group finally realized that, under cover of Mouw Awa and the ghuls, Dhamsawaat had been steadily channeling power into a huge mound of skulls, and that couldn’t possibly be good.
The way I had set up the ritual was that Dhamsawaat could use a move action each turn to power it. After he had powered it seven times (and he was able to power it twice in one round, because he couldn’t see the characters to attack them), a huge bone ghul was going to rise from the skulls and hand the heroes their heads before going on to rampage through Belys. The power was at four or five when someone finally attacked Dhamsawaat and pulled him out of the magic circle.
This broke the ritual ((Initially, I mistyped broke as borke, which also fits, because the ritual was well and truly borked.)) and released a blast of energy ((2d6 per point of power in the ritual, so 8d6 or 10d6; I forget which.)) that finished of Mouw Awa, dropped the characters’ main tank ((Though with his triggered actions, he wound up with more hit points than he had before the blast went off. Stupid dwarf fighters.)), and fried all the ghuls. It also caused the crypt to start to collapse, in best action movie style.
Dhamsawaat ((Who, at this point, was barely scratched.)) fell into the cracks forming in the earth, and our heroes made a panicky escape ((The warlord almost fell to his death a couple of times, saved once by aÂ lightning lure and once by someone grabbing his arm. And one of the others who went to save the warlord almost fell to his doom, as well. It was lovely.)).
By that time, we were about two and a half hours overtime, so we called it a night. Before the next game, I think I’m going to have the characters take some downtime and level up to about level 14. Gotta look at the numbers before I commit to that, but that’s my plan.
In closing, I just want to say thank you to Saladin Ahmed, author of Throne of the Crescent Moon for writing the book that served as inspiration for this adventure, and for being cool and encouraging about me running it and writing about it. Thank you, sir. You are a scholar and a gentleman.
I’m looking forward to book two.