Trigger Warnings: Spoilers, original content in a published campaign, evangelizing, emo medusas
The ringing of the new year has come with it, surprisingly, a group of players that arrived on time for once, surprisingly since this is considered a time where everybody’s recovering from hangovers. The Princes of the Apocalypse crew showed up, with the occasional visit by Arron who was in what could be the last holiday break he’ll ever have in his life. (I assume that he’s in that pre-boot camp preparation stage before he’s shipped off to Fort Lenard Wood—correct me if I’m wrong—where they allow such an extended furlough.) Of which his character, a necromancer in service to an Angel—insert explanation marks here—was in arguments over winning people over to their religion—a no-no in my table even if it’s Christianity—with the newest member of my group of players: Spacehamzter Boo! Those who were playing Sword Coast Legends would know of him. He often DMed a bunch of modules in the form of Minsc and his partner, until SCL got a bit too repetitive for him. He wanted to branch out into other venues, so I talked him into getting into Roll20, with the hopes that he’ll become a DM there. He’s very entertaining, especially when he DMs in character.
But once the obligatory popcorn scene, of which I joined in the popping, we proceeded to do the first of several generated dungeons for the first of the four Elemental Weapons designed to counter the cults. Now, I know none of them has access to my One Drive account, so I’ll assume that they just planned to go straight from top to bottom, where which they managed to find the alter where this was located:
Weapon (Pickaxe), legendary (requires attunement by a good-aligned dwarf, fighter; or paladin)
A mighty pickaxe originally created by the dwarven Flametongue clan, this was originally meant to assist in tunneling. Over the winter, the pickaxe was found and through dragon magic, was transformed into Stonesplitter.
You gain the following benefits while holding this magic weapon:
You gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with it.
When you roll a 20 on an attack roll with this weapon against a member of the Cult of the Black Earth, the creature hit must succeed on a DC 17 Constitution saving throw or have the dealt damage (after bonuses and maxed dice rolls) doubled. If this damage reduces the HP to 0, the target is chunkied.
You can’t be surprised by members of the Cult of the Black Earth while you’re not incapacitated. You are also aware when any cultists are within 60 feet of you and aren’t behind total cover. You do not know their location, however.
You and any of your friends within 30 feet of you can’t be frightened while you’re not incapacitated.
Sentience. Stonesplitter is a sentient, lawful good weapon with an Intelligence of 6, a Wisdom of 15, and a Charisma of 10. It can see and hear out to 120 feet and has darkvision. It communicates by transmitting emotions to its wielder, although on rare occasions it uses a limited form of telepathy to bring to the wielder’s mind a couplet or stanza of ancient Dwarvish verse.
Personality: Stonespliter is a down to earth, rubber meets the road, no nonesense kind of weapon. When there’s a need to be done, best to do it right there and get it over with. It will be impatient with dawdling and using tact or diplomacy when the same thing can be achieved through brute force.
There was also a medusa who was just about to snatch it. Probably part of the crew who was turning people into granite statues as a warning to Meriele Ambercrown, Red Larch’s Townmistress. A rogue had enough stealth to snatch said weapon from right under the medusa’s nose.
Cue a lot of cursing from the Medusa, partially at the party, and partially at me! What can I say, I’m the DM. There was also a chase scene where the party tried to backtrack their way out before a very angry snake-haired bitch could catch up to them. No such luck though, the Medusa caught up with them on the next couple rooms up. Battle ensued, which ended up one-sided (I wasn’t going to jack up the difficulty at this point) until the Medusa was on her last legs.
It was then where the party members talked about which Hell that Medusa was going to go to when she gets killed off. Before the argument makes the battle any worse, for me that is, I had the Medusa do the honorable way out: She pulled out a mirror nobody knew she had until the thought came to me and turned her gaze on herself. At least she can reincarnate into something more palatable.
Now they get out of the dungeon, have their extended rest, and I think I heard them move on to finding the Air weapon, which they think will be found in the Feathergale spire. Also, they don’t know everything about this dungeon they’re in now. They might need to go back there. I’ll tell you more about it, but that would be telling.
In closing, I leave you with what might become a trend: #1 on the list of things Aaron is not allowed to do in the Army: Watch the Eighties Dungeons and Dragons cartoon in marathon form and then write his rendition of “Requiem” when he’s supposed to be working. (“Requiem” is the unproduced finale to the series.)