What follows are the after session emails I sent to my Wednesday night group as our campaign came to a close.
When we left off, you'd just defeated a pair of bony infernal monsters who'd been harassing the hanging nest-village of the bird people. What songs will they reveal now that you've saved them? Will you manage to escape your exile from the real world? Are you actually in a hat? And what's with the psychedelic cave inside the moon?
Last week you traveled from the hanging village of Paridae to the sub-cave of the One Who Wiggles. There, at the base of a coral-like growth of a tower, you fought both Norkers and eye-snakes.
Last week you faced the One Who Wiggles, the mask wearing collection of tentacles, and his weird lobster things. Some of the tentacle things squirmed away into the depths of its tower. The staff, robe, and mask remain... The eye worm still wiggles from the top of the staff, and the red gem still glows on the mask.
The party took a few seconds to heal up, and then chased after the scattered tentacles. Taking the down ramp deeper into the growth, the hallway expands around them, opening into a cyst-like cavity. At the far end is a man sized thing covered in a sheet. Before they can examine it, more of the lobster things emerge from the walls and attack, slowing the party's progress. It was a brutal fight, with the party penned in, attacked from the front, rear, and even above.
Uroth the rogue suffered the worst for it, as one of the lobster things back handed him with one claw, smashing him against the wall, before grabbing him around the torso with the other.. and squeezing. It pulled him close, wrapping it's mouth tentacles around his head. The second claw grabbed just below the first, and together they squeezed and pulled. His screams as he was literally torn apart were mercifully muffled by the tentacles.
Dinkle, dodging and weaving managed to only just avoid the same fate, while single handedly defeating the lobster he faced.
Roland's arcane skills preserved his pretty face as he raised shield after shield, while also using his lightning magic to stab, grab, and throw the lober on the ceiling away from the fight.
McGregor's skills with his bent blade, and heavy armor allowed him to pound out damage round after round (especially after he switched dice).
Marcie, small and surprised, supported her companions, attacking when she could reach, and in turn inspiring, taunting, and mocking those around her.
After the last of the lobsters was killed, the party used magic to pull the sheet from the mirror, and, amazingly, all managed to avoid looking directly in it. The sheet was replaced, and the party took a much needed short rest.
Then the one who wiggles returned...
"Give it back" the masked tentacle wizard demanded.
"No!" The party said pretty firmly.
Dinkle, the gnome monk wedged the evil wizard's staff under his arm, and sliced the tip of the sock covered wriggling tentacle sticking out of the top of it. It screamed, and Mr. Wiggles hissed.
Marcie, as charismatic AF, cast charm person on Mr. Wiggles. And, in what was only the first of a series of improbable failed saving throws, became charmed. Channeling the immortal Janice Joplin, she got on Mr. Wiggles' wavelength, and got him to share that he needs the stuff to help things from coming apart, and that their arrival seriously messed up his efforts to attack Hell. He then invited them down to his lab, and blinked out.
Taking a deep breath, they followed the passage down...
The next chamber that opened up was dimmer than any they'd been in since arriving in the psychedelic moon-caves. In one corner, a pile of slimy fish eggs was piled up, in another, a strange alchemical contraption, and in the middle of the room, a massive summoning circle. On the walls near the circle were chained up 5 figures: an elf, dwarf, bird-person, and 2 near-humans. All naked with bloody runes carved into their flesh. Mr. Wiggles stood at the far side of the circle.
"Please chain yourselves to the wall so that I can save us all" It asked. The party declined. Marcie scooped up one of the giant fish eggs. Within squirmed a demon larva. Marcy tossed it into the circle. Mr. Wiggles got out a "Noo!" The egg popped, and the thing that hit the floor unfolded into a massively wrinkly demon dog that Would
(and let's not talk about the terrible doggy breath)
Roland the arcane warrior stepped a little closer when it became clear that the doggie couldn't get out of the circle. Marcie noticed that the elf and dwarf were still alive. She set about freeing and healing the dwarf.
Dingle checked on the elf on the other side, while Black Dragon the human monk started to edge around toward Mr. Wiggles.
Once free, the dwarf, asked for a blade. Marcie gave him a dagger. He snatched it, and charged Mr. Wiggles. "Well, I guess it's on!" Everyone piled in. The first attack sliced through air, as Mr. Wiggles seemed to actually be about 5' over from where they thought it was. The dwarf wasn't bothered, and just plowed into him, and through him, holding a single tentacle, which he merrily stabbed. The image of Mr. Wiggles blinked out, and 3 other tentacles squirmed in its place. Dinkle went about using the wizard's own staff to kill them.
As the dwarf crossed over the edge of the circle, the demon doggie was suddenly free, and attacked Roland, but ineffectively. The elf, still chained up, magic missiled it. Roland finished it off easily.
Then something began to appear in the circle.
"Break the circle!!" But the circle, which was once carved into the fungus/coral like material of the cave seemed now to be inscribed in leather... and the wall looked more like silk than rock...
"Cut the circle!" Owen went at it with his sword, and Dinkle with the wizards bone bladed staff. A long tear dangled into the void below the circle... darkness... nothing... below...
The thing in the circle became more and more solid, a cloud of darkness flickering with black flame... Black Dragon charged into the circle, but was disoriented and stumbled back. The thing became as solid as it was going to get, and then lept out of the circle, and toward the alchemical apparatus, swatting down the dwarf, and hurting Dinkle. Then it released a cone of nightfire! Black Dragon rolled dramatically away, but Roland and Dinkle dropped from the necrotic rot that tore at their souls.
The elf shot it with magic missiles. Black Dragon tried slicing it with his sword, but it passed through as if there was nothing there. His fists had no problem connecting, and the beast slammed back (Improbably failed saving throw 2) into the alchemical equipment, smashing it. Marcie revived Roland first, then Dingle, while the monster batted with Black Dragon, and took another hit from the elf's spells.
Meanwhile, the now silken wall of the cave has caught fire from the beast's black flames. And Marcie hears, of all things, Birdsnot the Goblin... Yelling about fire!
"The magic of the hat is failing! And it's on fire! Birdsnot! Put it out! Baking Soda! Baking Soda!!" Marcie yells into the void showing where the silk has burned away.
"Guys, I'm gonna try something!" the elf yells and casts Polymorph. Improbably failed save #3... and he's a racoon. A very upset racoon of fire and darkness. But still, just a racoon... that launches itself angrily at Black Dragon.
"Guys! I'm gonna try something too!" Roland yells, grabbing the racoon by its tail. He then runs and throws it toward the hole.
"Lookout Birdsnot!" Marcie yells.
Dingle, not wanting to attack the racoon in Roland's arms, looks around, as does Black Dragon. Dingle notices a gold ring in the pulped remains of the tentacles. Black Dragon does not notice the gems that had spilled out of the alchemical device (critical failure!)
Amazingly, the racoon of fire and shadow manages to snag the edge of the leather flap dangling in the void.
Roland summons his arcane javelin, and skewers the small animal, which dies, releases its grip on the leather, falls, and transforms into a very angry beasts of shadow and flame. It falls, briefly, before swooping around. "Oh come on!" Roland cries, before blasting it with a mighty gust of wind. (Yet another failed save as it tries to push through)
Dingle comes close to the edge, sees what's up. Dingle focuses his Ki and adds his wind to Roland's. Together, they push the dragon deep into the darkness.
The wall is now barely holding together as the silk burns, revealing more and more void...
"We've got to get out of here, the hat's failing!"
The elf, meanwhile, was examining the ring, and the runes inscribed on the inside reform and say "Be careful what you wish for..." with 2 hash marks next to it.
The party runs, as they escape the tower, and emerge into the greater cave system, they can see the psychedelic colors drained, and signs of the failing magic everywhere. In addition, the air is full of smoke, and spots here and there are beginning to smolder and burn. As they ride their beasts toward the far end of the cave and escape, they discuss what to do with the ring, deciding to word it as simply as possible.
The elf slips the ring on and says "I wish that the demi-plane in which we are in is stabilized and does not suffer further damage!"
The flames blink out. The party takes a relieved breath, but continue on their way out of the hat. Flying out of the moon, they continue down to the demiplane, passing by a belt of dead eye monsters on the way. Flying over the Silent City, they continue deep into the desert, and then to their small camp. Above, the vortex showing the way is still open, and they get sucked up into it.
Emerging into a small room in an inn where Birdsnot has been staying. Unfortunately the room was never designed to hold 6 people, 2 wyverns, and 3 or 4 hippogryphs. Needless to say, the structural integrity of the inn was seriously compromised, but the party succeeded, and the hat retains it's magic!
Thus ends this chapter of our game. I want to thank you all for coming together week after week and playing in my weird sandbox. It has been a lot of fun, and I'm grateful for every opportunity to inflict my twisted world upon you.
Next week we'll be starting a new chapter, with new characters. My plan it to take full advantage of the cosmology of D&D, so if you want to get a little weird with your characters, go for it!
And finally I want to wish Lauren the best of success as she steps behind the DM's screen and begins her Storm King's Thunder campaign. While I'm sad to lose the best bard I've ever had at my table, I know she's going to do an amazing job.
See you all next week!