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Author Topic: AP from the end of my D&D basic campaign  (Read 717 times)

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AP from the end of my D&D basic campaign
« on: June 12, 2007, 05:47:05 pm »
Originally posted to my blog, back on May 9th, 2006:

Farewell, Mystara

It was a great end to a fabulous trip.  What had begun over a year and a half ago as "15 hours of OD&D" had blossomed into a campaign intended to be run using the Rules Cyclopedia D&D rules, played "by the book" (following the rules to the letter), with the ultimate goal of playing the party from 1st to 36th level and completing the quest for immortality.

Along the way the player characters had run into some trouble with major artifacts, visited the Isle of Dread, travelled back in time to the Blackmoor civilization, fought against the Master of Hule (and his evil "League of Champions") in Sind, fought vainly to defend the Elves of Alfheim from the Shadow Elf invasion, and subsequently aided them in their exile, and in the meantime gained fame and prestige building up their own power, running their dominions, cleaning the ruins of Ardelphia or the mountains of the Five Shires, adventuring with Captain Haldemar Von Haaken of Alphatia or discovering the lost Hollow World.

And yesterday, the campaign played its last adventure.  One of their few defeats, many many weeks of gaming ago, was when they were chased in fear of their lives off of the cursed isle of Itheldown by the Roaring Demon Razrog.   Far too powerful for them to face at that time, now the players were determined that they would confront and defeat him.

The regulars were all there: Patriarch Corwyn, Sir Firearm the Avenger, Hathalon and Alendalan the Elves, and Galafilo the halfling sheriff.  Added to this usual roster was an old friend, one of the original players who had played the first few months of the game, Korrelian the Chaotic Elf.  His player, Igor, is known as something of a "garron" here in Uruguay. The term literally means "someone who takes advantage"; and as a gaming term its something fairly close to a min-maxer. It really means, someone who can figure out how to use the system or his character to get away with things that are way beyond the pale.

When Igor heard that it was the very last adventure he decided to tag along. I thought that was just fine, but his character was still only lv.8; and while I was glad to have him come back, I wasn't going to give him any extra levels to make up for it. I figured, at lv8 he'd be mostly a spectator and not really do much actively. Boy was I wrong...

In any case, the characters got to Itheldown and travelled astrally to the chamber where the Gate to the Entropic plane was located. There they fought Razrog, who was not toying with them this time around, but fighting them with the fullest of his abilities.

I had been slightly worried that this, what ought to be a climactic fight of the players careers, could end up being like a great many other high-level battles in OD&D: down to a question of initiative. Fortunately it wasn't the case; Razrog and the PCs both came to the fight very prepared, meaning that it wasn't going to come down to a lucky shot. Instead it came down to a one hour fight in real time that left everyone thuroughly impressed.  The PCs won, but only thanks to the hard work of absolutely everyone in the group, and the team effort. Things like Corwyn using his Dispel Evil spell effect to keep the Demon from being able to take down the fighters, the elves casting double hastes to counteract the "Slow" effect of the Demon; And in the end having Korellian there feeding potions of healing to the downed combatants and casting Haste and Mirror image turned out to be of vital importance.

Finally, a combo blow by Galafilo and Sir Firearm finished Razrog off, and there was much rejoicing. Rejoicing, and collection of massive amounts of treasure (about 12 million gp worth, plus tons of magic items and even artifacts).  Corwyn used his last Wish to close the Gate to the plane of Entropy, and the PCs hightailed it out of there before the whole warped castle of Itheldown came crashing down on their heads.

Fortunately, one of the artifacts they found granted some wishes; enough that Corwyn was able to finally raise his WIS to 18 and thus be able to cast Wish himself. The next several months were spent pumping up everyone's attributes to 18, giving all the demihumans an extra hit die, and generally using Wish to max out every PC.  Just in time for the final act of the campaign.

In 1009 a massive storm hits Sundsvall, destroying the Alphatian capital, killing the emperess and much of the city. But far worse, right after the storm all magic ceases to work in Mystara for a week. Elves begin to sicken, clerics cannot commune with their Immortals. The PCs are obviously quite alarmed by this, and after they get their magic back they contact their Immortals and find out that its the Radiance, the power-core of the technological artifact that they had first encountered in Blackmoor, and now knew was in Glantri, that had been used as a weapon to destroy Sundsvall, and had caused the week without magic.

Knowing that they can't put it off any longer, they head to confront the keeper of the Radiance and destroy it, aided by magical artifacts given to them by Asterius and Usamigaras (a halfling immortal that Alendalan had freed from an artifact and that Galafilo is now hoping will patronize him).

The PCs travel to Glantri city just as the Alphatian Battle Wizards are making their desperate last assault on the city, trying to defeat Glantri before Glantri can use their "terrible weapon" again.  They teleport to the chamber of the Radiance, defeat the gargantuan Golem that guards it, and start examining it to see how it works when the Immortal Rad, keeper of the Radiance, appears and confronts the PCs.
Deciding that neither fighting nor negotiation is a good idea, they use the artifact Usamigaras gave them to create a direct portal to the outer planes.  From there, Usamigaras' buddy Ixion comes along, and he is PISSED at Rad for stealing magical power from the sphere of Energy to use the Radiance. The two mighty immortals start duking it out.

Meanwhile, Corwin uses the "experimental" artifact Asterius gave them to try to destroy the Radiance, but instead it seems to start a chain reaction in the radiance that looks like the Radiance might blow and take all of Mystara with it! While Corwin is paralized by the effect of the artifact, the other PCs desperately try to figure out how to stop the chain reaction. They turn to the computers, and find out that the ancient machines still work, and still have a series of commands. But they are unsure which to do. Finally, Alendalan decides enough is enough and uses the "shut down" command, but he's told that he must do a "re-route" command first. Issuing that command, he's asked for his security clearance by the computer, which appears to be under the mistaken assumption that Alendalan is Rafiel (the original engineer who maintained the Radiance, now an immortal).  Alen casts Contact Outer Plane to contact Rafiel and ask him for the password personally, but forgot that spells didn't work inside the radiance chamber! And that was the only Contact spell he had.  Galafilo goes outside to ask Ixion for help, but only ends up distracting Ixion and causing Rad to defeat him.

Now Rad's the one who's pissed and he charges into the chamber of the radiance, intent on killing all of the PCs, but when he sees what they've done, and not knowing the passcode nor having the time left to stop the chain reaction, he realizes that his only choice is to sacrifice himself to try to contain the Radiance's explosion. The PCs hightail it out of there, and the Radiance is destroyed, and possibly Rad with it.

Ixion, now recovered, tells the PCs that they were too late to save the continent of Alphatia, which has sunk beneath the waves from the power of the Radiance, but their bravery was enough to save the rest of the world. The PCs' individual patron Immortals appear, and tell them that they may have what they wish in exchange for their brave acts.

The PCs all choose Immortality, of course.

Ok, so I cheated just a bit, not having the PCs have to go through all the rigamarole of the Immortal Quests; but then, there's some precedent. After all many of the Immortals listed in WoTI seemed to have gained their immortality not from the completion of quests but through other kind of extreme acts of heroism.  Plus, everyone was highly satisfied with the result.

I'm sad that the long winding trip of D&D classic has come to an end. But there's two new things coming out of it. First of all, as of this week I begin a new campaign of Warhammer 2nd Edition, something I've been looking forward to do for a long time.

Second, one of my players came up with an idea I liked a lot, which was to adapt the Amber RPG rules to run an Immortal-level Mystaran campaign.  Given that the Immortal-Level D&D rules pretty well suck, I had figured that when the PCs got to Immortal level that'd be the end for Mystara and me. But Eduardo's idea, when you look at it, is brilliant.  Immortal-level D&D characters are roughly the same power-level as Amberites, and the setting is in many ways similar.  Both have squabbling immortals in different factions and cabals scheming one against the other; both have a multiverse of possible battlefields for these conflicts, both have "immortals" who are all too human in their attitudes and perceptions.  Really, its just a question of changing around the powers to fit the Mystara setting and working in the "immortal hierarchy".

So in a few months, I'm hoping most of my D&D players (and maybe one or two Amber-fanatics) will be drawn to playing that campaign. And for now, I'll be going from the epic high adventure of Mystara to the dirty and gritty, sometimes even slimy, very low adventure of the Old World.

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