No idea how many sessions we’ve actually had in this campaign. I didn’t keep track. We haven’t had many lost weekends, and no Great Summer Blackout, so I’ll just guess.
I guess with 52 weeks per year, so 52 sessions, that in the first year (Jan ’10 to Jan ’11) we had 45. Then another 3 per month until now, which is Feb, Mar, and halfway through Apr ’11. That brings us to 53, so the last two sessions were 52 and 53. Close enough for horseshoes.
(For some reason I’m now thinking about how the bank will generally let you start with Check No. 1001 or so. I didn’t want to cheat, but I caved and let them start me at 101.)
Session 52: Robbing and Dragon
The player who lost all her goodies to the Deck of Many Things realized she also lost her spellbooks. The PCs had just traded copies of all their spells to the wise woman of a troll village in exchange for some potions and a few of her spells. They returned, asked for copies of her copies, and she said if they killed the dragon who lived in the Fogspire Peaks to the west she would do it. She gave the unfortunate PC 6 spells of her choice to put in her books before she left. The wise woman wanted the dragon dead because he kept her from picking the special flowers from the mountain valley below his home, and she needed the flowers from that patch for her Love Potions.
The PCs scouted the dragon cave, found him not at home, and ran in to loot. They stole a lot of magic items and left the coins, gems, jewelry, art, and nonmagical equipment. There was a lot left! As they fled, force-marching down the mountain, they saw fire and smoke as the angry dragon searched around for the thieves.
One PC returned (!) using Meld Into Stone to creep in safely. She spoke with the dragon, who was sulking on his nest, and he seemed affable and welcoming. He asked his guest to follow him into the next cave for tea, and she did, and tea was had. She spilled a few more beans than she meant to. The dragon mentioned that he had just lost some heirlooms that had “sentimental value” and said if she found any that had washed down the mountain in the recent storms he’d gladly pay full value for them. He claimed the contents of his nest were really only a portion of his vast hoard, which included a library he would share with them.
Session 53: Getting Robbed Back
Here the PCs did an Augury as to the dragon’s intentions, which results were inauspicious. The dwarf of the group was adamant that the dragon was no good, but the two main spellcasters (one of whom had only 6 spells from the troll shaman!) wanted to trade the lesser items from their haul back to the dragon in exchange for spells and money.
The two went back to the cave and met the dragon. He gladly accepted their magic items and thin lies about how they got them, leading them into the deeper parts of the cave to the library. Along the way, he used a jeweled staff from the returned loot to “disable some magical wards” but he was actually trying to use it to charm them. Some of their saves came close, but because they were both elves they avoided all of them. Eventually he came to a place where he had to fly across, and he asked if they could fly. When they replied not, he offered to ferry them across and they agreed. He later lured them into a side passage and breathed, confident that they didn’t have any way back. One died immediately, the other taken to almost no health, and the survivor fled with the charred arm of her fellow.
This survivor navigated the cave river in the back of the dragon’s lair to a side cave with mushrooms and a tribe of vegepygmies, who honored her as “the tallest,” to some consternation by the slightly shorter vegepygmy warriors. They nursed her back to health and she found a way back to the dragon’s nest, but he was brooding there.
The other PCs outside and down the valley, close to the troll village, sent a mental message to the two wizards and found one dead and the other trapped. They then sent a mental message to the dragon, saying his treasure (in particular a valuable magic sword) were in the troll village. They fled north away from the village and dragon cave, back home. The trapped wizard fled when the dragon left his cave and met up with them later. They raised the dead wizard at the Fountain of Life in the Monastery thereof (using her one “get out of jail free card”) and returned to find the troll village a smoking ruin. Not one stone lay upon another stone. They found a troll shepherd later and told him of the devastation, and he said he would find other kin to live with.
Both outcomes were fine with me. They just got snagged by a combination of greed and naivete. In the end I think they came out ahead, but they would have been MUCH better off knowing when to fold ’em. This was not a capricious DM decision, it was just a tough monster and they got pretty lucky the first time. I rolled for whether the dragon spotted them in his aerial search and he didn’t. I rolled a simple percentile check to see how poorly the village of trolls fared and got a “95” which to me meant they were destroyed and maybe one or two fled, with the dragon surviving.
There was much more dungeon to explore, and they didn’t even touch half the hoard. The troll village held some surprises they missed out on by selling them out to the dragon. But in the end they walked away with one of the most powerful magic swords in the game and a few other miscellaneous magic items. I think in the future they’ll be a bit more cautious about trusting people and monsters – but so far there hasn’t been such a sharp distinction. Just because something is non-human doesn’t mean it’s out to get you. Just because something is human (or dwarf, or elf) doesn’t mean it’s a friendly resource.