The Adventures of Annalax: Volume XVIII
Session Thirty-Seven… our last full session in the Dreamland.
So the Fae Queen was after a rematch. To the extent that she was literally willing to destroy her own forest in order to replenish her forces. I imagine one of her advisers pointed out that “destroying something in order to save it” was not a wise idea. I also imagine what the Queen did with said adviser.
Our solution? We sent out Tarsin to spy on her. He was wild-shaping as an Owl (cue hooting noises at the table), and he fooled exactly no-one among the Fae. While he wasn’t subject to Dispel Magic, he was imprisoned via vines… only to eventually escape, with a story about how the Fae were building a massive battering ram. This Fairy Grond had a troll’s head.
Meanwhile, the brave War Council decided to vacate Arcadia, and turned over command of the city to Ember. I imagine they’ll be wanting it back eventually, but that’s not our business. The rest of the session was rather unconventional for D&D. It was a full siege, where each of the party members were put in charge of a squadron of soldiers (the soldiers had the special abilities of our characters, so Annalax’s underlings acquired Uncanny Dodge). Annalax spent the siege shooting crossbow bolts at attacking Fae, with nothing much to report, except to note that the Fae Battering Ram failed five times to breach Arcadia’s city gates. Worst Grond Ever.
Tarsin was a different story. Invoking the spell Skystrike, he used a Giant Owl to fly up a long, long way… and then plummeted down, leaving a bright red sign of Shub-Niggurath (re-flavoured lightning) in his wake. He fell down onto one of the Queen’s top underlings, doing 200d6 of lightning damage. That isn’t a typo. 200d6. He did 709 points of damage, enough to kill his high-ranking target seven times over. Tarsin himself was left rather dazed in the middle of the Queen’s army, but they (understandably) were not willing to touch him. Goodness knows what that episode sounded like on the battlefield.
Then the Wild Huntsman turned up for the first time in over thirty sessions, and duelled the Fae Queen. The Huntsman won, and the Fae were routed. Yay.
After the battle, a hag devoted to Shub-Niggurath turned up, and convinced Tarsin to join her. So our strange little lizardfolk Druid departed the scene. He will be missed (or not, as we soon found out). You see, we were treated to an image of poor Tarsin’s depressing life in the swamp, and how a follower of an Eldritch Horror was the only person ever to be nice to him. Tarsin had spent his entire life getting abused by Fae. But then we got an image of that Eldritch Horror destroying continents…
Ember handed over Arcadia to our collection of servant demons (who have definitely had a very strange character arc). Ember is also not keen on Lolth worship in the city, and has instructed the demons accordingly. Annalax does not know about that, of course. Annalax (via his merchant background) is weirdly Lawful for a Drow. Since he respects the concept of deal-making, he still expects the demons to look after that underground shrine. Oh well.
(Note that had Annalax found out about any funny business involving the shrine, he would have actually left the party. Specifically, he would have gone back to the Waking World, and notified the Priestesses of Lolth about any crime against the Faith. Which would have made him one hell of a vengeful and recurring NPC… but luckily that did not happen).
Session Thirty-Eight… back in the Waking World for the first time since Session Four. Only Annalax and Ember are survivors from the initial visit, and it took some mental adjustment.
Not least because in Waking World terms, we had only been gone for three days. The party grabbed the vacated bandit headquarters, while the Ghoul found the Eternal Flame religion to be most interesting.
At the local tavern, we met Tarsin’s replacement. Zhând’ârc, a notorious Pirate (actually a Pirate Wizard, curiously enough). Courtesy of a natural 20, it turned out that Annalax knew him. Small world, I suppose, and the two have gotten along very nicely. Zhând’ârc has inherited Tarsin’s bag of stuff too.
Now, the siege from the previous session has also taken the party to Level Seven. For Annalax, this means extra spell slots, one new spell (Invisibility), and Evasion. For the Ghoul though…
Our Ghoul – having been touched by Lolth in the shrine – grabbed a level of Warlock. So he’s now a Warlock of Lolth, despite being a non-Drow. Annalax can’t get his head around this, leading to one of the stranger D&D prayers:
ANNALAX (paraphrased): “Oh, great Lady, Ruler of us all, I would never dare question Your wisdom. I understand You Work in Mysterious Ways. But with your recent choice of servant, I cannot help but think ‘What the Flaming Fuck’?”
Annalax has told the Ghoul he will refer the matter to the Priestesses of Lolth. They might have a better idea of what the hell is going on here.
Coming back to the Waking World, there was also the problem of money conversion. Our money was mostly Dreamland coinage, which would not work in the Waking World. Luckily, we tracked down a Blacksmith who also moonlighted as a currency counterfeiter. Ember and Elknel cheerfully transferred their money over to Waking World coins, accepting the fellow’s ten percent fee. Annalax, Zhând’ârc, and the Ghoul, however, used that whole Invisibility thing to break into his house afterwards, and take their share of the fee back. Zhând’ârc even cast Silence, and fired a bullet above the Blacksmith’s sleeping head. Our poor Blacksmith is going to wake up very confused, and a good deal poorer.
The party bought ourselves some horses, and headed off south. And there we ran into the Circus.
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