12:56 pm, Friday, September 29th, 2006

Okay, so here’s how the D&D campaign ended (plus a little background for folks out of the loop): Since early in the campaign, the eastern group of continents (where all our characters have lived and adventured) have been under attack from these creatures we’ve labeled “hollow-men.” The reason for this moniker is that, when opened, it becomes apparent that there is nothing inside their ubiquitous banded armor. In fact, the armor itself is magical and, when forcibly put on a living humanoid, turns the wearer into one of these mindless soldiers. Thus, the hollow-men army has grown as it’s swept the eastern lands, with our own captured units eventually being turned against us (√† la the Borg, or infectious zombies).

Now, most of the major gods in this campaign had been in a state of suspended animation for many years, imprisoned in corporeal forms not quite dead. These avatars were hidden in various dungeons and labyrinths throughout the eastern continents. We’d been waking them up, having been promised that when a dozen were active at once they could use their divine powers to conquer the hollow-men scourge. But while we were carrying out this mission a cadre of elite wizards (the “blue-cloaks,” who were employed by–or at least had intentions similar to–the hollow-men army’s rulers) worked to undo our efforts and prevent us from raising new avatars.

I believe that, in the entire campaign, we only ever managed to kill a single blue-cloak. And then only after it had dealt hundreds of points of damage to the party through magical traps and attacks. (That was actually the major hurdle we had to overcome in stealing our airship — which we later offered to return to its righful owners, the New Avalosans, but were allowed to keep for the express purpose of aiding the war effort.)

Anyway, near the beginning of the last session we were bringing the ship into New Avalosa for repairs, loot liquidation, and resupply. Upon arrival, we found a large scale naval battle underway outside the island’s harbor. We traded in the airship for a much smaller and slightly slower (but completely undamaged) skiff, then spent a few days helping defend the tiny nation. Long story short, we managed to take out 16 enemy ships with spells and archers.

Then we headed north to a dungeon where it seemed likely another avatar was being held (these spots were marked on a huge map we acquired at a similar complex that we happened upon by accident back around the third session). The entrance to this one was a partially submerged cave mouth on the other side of an estuary from a tribe of cannibals. Inside, we met a glass or crystal golem (which I demolished with a single critical hit) and a group of goblinoids ruled by an ogre mage. Beyond those chambers, we found a huge cavern with large pillars protruding hundreds of feet from what seemed to be a brackish underground lake. Beyond that, there was a clever illusion, a sort of moai-ish guardian, and a room with five doors and a disembodied voice.

We all took different doors. Brandon and I ended up sliding down a chute into a room dominated by a giant blue man in shackles. The others were sent to a variety of strange worlds or planes; two appeared in a land identical to ours, but where everything was made of metals. Another two found themselves on the astral plane, where they were chased by some sort of ethereal dragon.

It developed that the blue giant was actually an imprisoned djinn. By promising the djinn that we would use the last one to free it, we were allowed to make three wishes. Knowing that these wishes would most likely interpreted with maximum prejudice, I tried to make them as altruistic and simple as possible. I wished that (1) all our party members would appear in this chamber, completely safe, (2) that all the hollow-men would revert to the form they had before the armor was put on them, and (3) that the djinn would be free to do anything he wanted. Sure, they weren’t perfect wishes, but I had to say them before Brandon or the other party members could start weasling in on ‘em.

After that, things moved faster — the hollow-men were reduced to bloody blobs (due to a very technical interpretation of the wish) and our party took a massive force to the distant western continent with an impressive Avalosan aerial dreadnought as our flagship. We were each assigned a company of soldiers (I got archers) to destroy the hollow-men armor forges and a couple guardian dragons.

It turned out the people responsible for the invasion were the duergar. I don’t think their race was quite the same as the typical D&D one (i.e. gray dwarves who lived near the drow); these ones were green and seemed to be slightly injured by direct sunlight. Anyway, we eventually arranged talks to negotiate their surrender and many things became clear: Apparently their rationale for the enitre invasion was that their race ruled the entire planet long before any of ours existed, so they were entitled to it. So devout were they in this belief that their mature males actually willingly donned the armor, despite the fact that it robs the wearer of free will. At the talks, they refused to surrender; they unequivocally said they would continue to try to take back their land no matter what we did.

The New Avalosan admiral acknowledged this and, after a little more discourse, essentially said, “Let’s see if you change your tune after some mass killings.” He then ordered 9 of every 10 duergar put to death. This sparked some disagreement in the party. I was very much against the edict — I tried to offer compromises, even to the point of suggesting the duergar instead be put into internment camps or reservations. I even tried to convince the admiral to kill only half the population, instead of 90%. He wouldn’t give in even a tiny bit. Within our own party, Anthony had the greatest objection to my alternatives. Amazingly, the other players were more offended by my reservations/camps suggestion than the prospect of what would basically be genocide. Obviously, limiting someone’s freedom isn’t very nice, but it’s much kinder than killing them, right? (BTW, to be clear, I am against the duergar world-reclamation plan, but I also think genocide should never be considered as long as it’s possible to change their minds.)

Anyway, Anthony and I argued for quite a while until it became evident that neither of us could change the other’s mind. I tried to appeal to the other players and the admiral NPC, but no one would accept anything other than New Avalosa’s “Endl√∂sung der Duergarfrage.” So, with the campaign drawing to a close (and our characters destined to retire to NPCdom), I told the GM that Kreft (my elven archer) would gather all the resources he could and lead an insurgency against the New Avalosans. I figure he’ll be a definite thorn in their side while they try to execute 90% of the western menace; I’d cultivated relationships with a fair number of influential NPCs during the campaign and amassed a decent amount of equity (more than anyone else in the party I think, when you include the castle I was granted thanks to my single Deck of Many Things draw back in the hidden valley so many months ago). Plus it shouldn’t be hard to get the duergar on my side, at least until the extermination can be halted. And, while we’re organizing this resistance, perhaps I can convince the western continent natives that they should be content with controlling only half the world.

Anthony said his thief would keep on with the military, trying to eradicate my character’s covert cells.

The next D&D campaign (which will be run on Friday nights) will take place in the same setting, but 10-20 years after the events of the last session.

As a way of commemorating my time in the campaign (May 22nd – September 18th, 16 sessions), I decided to post the main two pages of my character sheet.

Kreft character sheet (p. 1)     Kreft character sheet (p. 2)

I had other stuff to talk about, but this post has gotten pretty long so I’ll just write another one later. One quick note though: I wanted to mention I’m leaving for the Tri-Cities in a few minutes — I’ll be there till Monday.

4 Responses to “#721”

  1. Tim:

    See, this is why I wish my friends weren’t lazy douchebags. Nick (Ben’s brother) is, however, going to do a GURPS campaign where Ben (Spiffy) and I go supernatural bar-hoppping. Xenophile and Wierdness Magnet are Disadvantages NO MORE!

    I’m playing as a rebel with a giant, warforged-like arm and an awsome trenchcoat, and Ben is a black market leader who can sell his own, renewable organs on the black market, and can rip his limbs off, beat people with them, and grow them back. He can also heal 10 hp to anyone in a 2 yd. radius per second.

  2. Keith:

    Did the game really last that long?

  3. hjo3:

    Yup! This is the post I made the day after our first game.

    Re: Tim: Supernatural bar-hopping? Like, a Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon sorta thing? Ben’s character sounds pretty munchkined out :P

  4. Tim:

    Yea, it’s based somewhat loosely off of Callahan. Damn that was a great game.

    Ben…. yea. We started with 200 points, and he took appropriate disadvantages, plus Nick is pretty lax.