The adventure continues! Last time, our heroes made a new friend, discovered the Ruby City of the vampires, defeated a Medusa, freed an Apex Werewolf (and set him loose on said city of vampires), and met a very sexy new NPC…
Play time: 4 hours
- Asmund the Divine Soul Sorcerer (7)
- Drew the Eldritch Knight (7)
- Hugo the Time Wizard (6), Cleric (1)
- Lobelia the Vampire
- Rainen the Beast Master Ranger (5), Druid (2)
- Ward the Gloom Stalker Ranger (6), Rogue (1)
Court of the Damned
The dhampir prince Dragodai Torescu led the party up a spiral stair around a vast bottomless pit. Every few minutes, a stranger fell screaming into the abyss. At the top of the stairs, they found a gang of Torescu vampires hold mock trials of the Rukesti vampires, and hurling them to their dooms.
Dragodai led the charge, misty-stepping away as his magic sword began decapitating the guards. The party ran up to help. At one perilous moment, a vampire shoved Asmund back to the brink of the pit with a spear, leaving him tottering above the abyss. But Drew slaughtered the guard and pulled Asmund back to safety.
In a final moment of violent teamwork, Rainen froze the evil Magistrate, Ward riddled him with flaming arrows, and Lobelia tore him to pieces.
Dragodai led the party into a huge echoing hall, once covered in baroque decorations, now dark and abandoned. Mostly. Two dozen small black figures squatted in a circle, surrounded by strange giant hollow lumps. As the figures chanted, a swirling vortex formed on the floor and a giant crab claw began to rise up.
The dhampir merely growled and headed for another door. The party slowly followed, choosing to ignore whatever this was.
Shattered Dining Room
They entered yet another massive, echoing hall filled with trash and debris. Shattered chandeliers lay in heaps. The huge skull of a dread wyvern hung from the ceiling in chains. Dragodai swore. It was his wyvern Creed, apparently slaughtered in the last century while he was in prison.
Hugo spotted a magic sword in a corpse, and pulled it out. This was Slava’s Mirrorblade, able to reflect spells back at the caster. No one was keen to equip it, and no one was interested in the body.
Dragodai kicked open the doors to the outer courtyard and stalked off to the right. Everyone else emerged into the gloomy winter morning. Right in front of them, they spotted Bianca (the were-bear) dragging a dead Rosette Vanator (the vampire hunter) toward the castle gates. Broken gargoyles lay all around, but three more gargoyles were tearing into Bianca.
The team rushed to save Bianca. Ward and Drew smashed the gargoyles left and right. Hugo ran after Dragodai, trying to get him to slow down and help. The dhampir sent his flying sword to slash the gargoyles apart, but he kept walking, intent on finding and killing his mother, the queen.
“Who is making all this racket?” A vampire in heavy plate armor strode into the courtyard. Asmund froze. This was the vampire knight who killed his parents!
You killed my father, prepare to die!
The team quickly finished off the gargoyles and converged on the vampire knight, Adrian. The knight drew out a huge red sword and began slashing everyone to pieces. Then he used the sword to pull the blood out of their open wounds to heal himself. Lobelia leapt onto his shoulders and bit his neck, tasting blood for the first time. She loved it!
Adrian threw Lobelia off and Charmed her to join him, but Asmund quickly freed her. Lobelia began trying to Charm him back, but he defied her.
Frustrated at being surrounded, Adrian summoned his dread wyvern Mercy to rain down fire, again and again. Everyone was looking badly injured. And then… Lobelia Charmed the vampire knight!
With a few clever words, Lobelia convinced Adrian that he shouldn’t be wasting his time out here fighting when he had a whole army back in his tower. So he promptly transformed into a bat to go yell at his soldiers.
And then Ward used his ring of Control Bats to make Adrian turn around and fly back down to into Asmund’s glowing, holy hand. Asmund pressed his holy power into the vampire bat, and the creature instantly turned back into an armored man.
A human man!
Clumsy and weak, the human Adrian rolled around the ground, barely able to stand in his heavy armor. Sasha promptly knocked him on his face. But Mercy was flying in for another blaze of dragon-fire. So Rainen hid herself and Sasha in a magic bubble, and Mercy poured down fire on the party. Everyone survived, barely, except for Adrian. The vampire knight was reduced to ash!
And the team picked up his vampiric, sentient Bloodrazor sword.
Bravely run away
With everyone on the verge of death, Dragodai finally relented and turned back. He asked the party which of the vampire knights were dead, and they said Lucien and Adrien. So the prince led them to the brown turret where Lucien used to live. (They also spotted the giant man from the potion-tower standing outside the white tower across the courtyard!)
Inside, they found a small stage for musical performances, and a bedroom filled with silk pajamas below a mirrored ceiling. Hugo also found a cursed ravenwolf hat, which he gave to Asmund. The sorcerer used another charge of his holy hand to burn away the curse and kept the furry, feathered hat.
Hugo set up a protective bubble on the stage and everyone collapsed to take a short rest (maybe).
And that’s where we stopped.
This was a good session, but it felt off for me. We got a late start, and then I had to hit pause to handle a family matter, so the whole feel of the evening was a little wonky for me personally. The Court of the Damned felt like a good way to introduce “a place full of vampires” and also to show off Dragodai’s skills. I was a little bummed that no one wanted to check out the chanting figures summoning the giant crab, or the dead body with the mirror sword, but that’s all good.
But then we got to a great combat. Adrian and Mercy were dynamic and dangerous, and nearly killed a couple PCs. And everyone seemed really satisfied with the cool teamwork that led to Asmund avenging his parents’ murders.
I tried to keep Dragodai from being too social or helpful. I didn’t want the super cool NPC to take center stage right at the end of the campaign, right? So I played him as very angry and focused on his mother, and annoyed by the weakness or goals of the party. That seemed to be a good balance.
Next time…? I don’t know, next time might be the Vampire Queen!