The Adventures of Annalax: Volume III
Time for another Annalax/D&D 5e update. Whereas previously I have summarised three sessions of game-play, I’ve decided to slow things down a bit, to allow more detail. This was two sessions.
The first session was an important lesson in not over-thinking things. After spending an entire real-world week figuring out a strategy to get the party out of the mess on the ship, it was helpful NPCs to the rescue. But since a Total Party Kill had previously felt a real possibility, neither I nor my character were complaining. There was also an amusing moment when Annalax (who had passed his Stress Limit) was temporarily afflicted with Masochism during the battle. Definitely a “Yes, and…?” moment, given Annalax’s sexual tastes. The other humorous anecdote? One of the attacking merfolk kept rolling 20s, and another kept rolling 1s. The party nicknamed them Chad and Dave, respectively.
However, there turned out to be one fly in the ointment. The Queen we were supposed to be visiting was a Queen of the Underwater Realm… which meant she lived 7,500 metres under the sea. In short, visiting her in our current state would mean being crushed into pudding. The one character (our Warforged Fighter) who might survive such pressures? He doesn’t have Darkvision. Because that depth is pitch-black. Our Dreamland Cat Alchemist can breathe underwater, and can see in the dark, but he’s organic, and would be squashed like the rest of us.
[Further investigation suggests our DM might have had the Queen a bit too deep. Maybe 2,500 metres, rather than 7,500 metres might have fit better? But, well, this isn’t our world, and, more importantly, Magic is a Thing.]
Anyway, a few temporary magical alterations later, Annalax was cheerfully moving around in the frigid oppressive darkness, trying to stay in the good graces of a female autocrat. Just like home for him, I suppose, only with more deep-sea snailfish and fewer spiders. He was also able to pick up a full twenty-five helpings of sea-urchin poison for his crossbow bolts. Note that he bought these, rather than stole them – Annalax’s survival instincts trump even his avarice, and when one is reliant on magic not to be crushed into pudding, one does not anger the magic-user.
We also picked up a fresh Quest. Our party needs to find Silver Keys (why, yes, the campaign is Lovecraft-themed…).
The second session was a good deal less plot focused, and a good deal more Breather Episode. Everyone was pretty much off doing their own thing, amid the hustle and bustle of an immense Dreamland city (this one above water).
I should mention at this point that Annalax’s modus operandi on arriving at a new location is to seek out the local NPC rogues. It allows the party a convenient and cheap means of accommodation, as well as on-the-ground information as to what is going on. From this point of view, Thieves Cant – the code-language of rogues – is incredibly useful as an identification tool. Guides to Fifth Edition D&D Rogues tend to be dismissive of Thieves Cant, basically considering it fluff. Needless to say, I disagree. If you want to find NPC rogues, you need Thieves Cant.
Anyway, this session Annalax busied himself with sorting out the party’s Moondust problem. You see, the party (with one exception) are not native to the Dreamland, and while Annalax himself does not dream (he’s a Drow. He trances), and neither does the party Warforged, the remainder do. Without Moondust, there is a risk that half the party will suddenly disappear back into the Waking World, leaving behind their items… along with the rest of us. Moondust itself is a consumable resource, so the supplies need to be topped up regularly.
Courtesy of Annalax’s rogue contacts (obtained via Thieves Cant), he got his hands on ninety doses of the stuff, enough to last three party members between thirty and a hundred and twenty days. Along with twenty-five gold for those of us who don’t actually need it directly. This wasn’t actually stealing either – it was just offloading the box of residual Smuggler items. Stuffed Snakes Heads and other exotic weirdness. So all in all, a good day’s work.
Notwithstanding Annalax’s usefulness to the party, there are some tensions. You see, while my character has enough cosmopolitan experiences to keep the freakier aspects of Drow culture to himself (it’s Bad for Business), he has noticed that the overworld is more than happy to engage in slavery. So he’s happy enough to talk about that aspect of the Underdark, as though he were talking about the overworld weather. Problem is, our Barbarian has had a bad experience with slavery in the past, resulting in something of a culture clash. Our Tiefling Priest tried to play peace-maker, leading to an entertaining exchange:
- TIEFLING: I appreciate that it is part of your culture, but slavery is wrong.
- ANNALAX: But everyone practices it in the overworld too.
- TIEFLING: It’s still wrong. I’ve had family members sold into slavery myself.
- ANNALAX: I’m guessing you bought them out then?
Courtesy of the Priest’s high Charisma, and Annalax’s mediocre Wisdom, however, the Tiefling did convince Annalax to stop talking about it.
The session concluded on a cliffhanger: the party were summoned to see the city ruler. Exciting!
Back to the Annalax Index: https://phuulishfellow.wordpress.com/2021/01/07/the-adventures-of-annalax-a-compendium/