This weekend I ran the first game of the new year in my long running Swords and Wizardry Campaign at Gold Star Anime. When we last left off of our intrepid party they found three elves chained in the lowest level of Tegal Manor. After examination, Heimdell, the dwarven runecaster, determined that they fueled the magic being channeled through the manor and causing all the weirdness.
After a short debate the party elected to free the elves. Freed of their chains they thanked the party with their last breath and died. At which point the Manor started collapsing. Heimdell use Dimension Door to get the party out.
They lugged the bodies of Faramir, a human knight, and Hazar, a human thug and the official owner of Tegal Manor back to Goodnap where they raise the two at the Cathedral of Mitra. At which point the last session ended.
This session picked up a week later with Faramir, and Hazar recovered. Well Hazar halfway recover as he was in anguish over being the owner of a pile of stone instead of a large manor house. After meeting two new party members Argo a human berserker, and Caleb, a human Wizard. A wizard is my version of d20 Sorcerer class translated into my campaign.
The party did something shopping and Heimdell worked on some enchantments during the downtime. During this they learned that the civil war being waged in the western lands of the City-State of the Invincible Overlord has now spread to where they are.
Then things got weird. First they started seeing the elves they saved alive and well around town. But every time they tried to talk to them they disappeared. In addition in the midst of talking to people they would utter something completely weird like. "The Dark Portal will open.", "Seek the circle of stone". "At the full moon the way will open".
After leaving the cathedral the party settled at the local inn and were contemplating their next move when a royal messenger came in from Dwarven Kingdom of Thunderhold. Apparently his majesty King Nodre Ironhelm wished to reward the party with land and resources for their work in a previous adventure.
But Caleb told the party of a stone henge nearby and the party decided to head there. In addition they would reach on the night of the full moon. It took an hour for the party to gear up and as the party were leaving the royal messenger returned with a royal writ commanding the party to immediately leave for Thunderhold to receive their rewards. The group started to debate this when the realized that Thunderhold was two weeks away. When they turned to question the messenger he was gone and the guard and people at the gate acted as if nothing happened. The royal writ they were handed turned out to be a large leaf.
Suspecting something very bad was going to happen, they rode to the stone henge. While camped, the party saw a dwarf female paladin being attacked by an ancient red dragon. She ran to the party yelling to save her. In the confusion the party let themselves be bunched up in a group. As the dragon was about to breath on them it and the dwarf female disappeared.
Finally the party reached the henge, where they found it to be a interworld portal. Apparently at the full moon it is at is weakest and one can use it to travel between worlds or dimensions. As the party debated over what to do. The three elves from Tegal Manor appeared. They explained that all they wanted to do is reward the party with their heart's desire. If they used the portal they would return to the real world and to the madness of civil war.
As the full moon was raising, the party debated. The cleric of Thoth, god of knowledge, told the party of a vision he had of the two faction of the civil war fighting and darkness overcoming both. In the darkness was a black dragon, Ancelgorn the defiler of the Majestic Fastness, the ancient home of the dwarves of Thunderhold.
Finally the party declined the elves offer and stepped into the portal. They found themselves in the dungeon of Tegal Manor looking on the bodies of the three elves. This time the manor did not collapse. However with the release of the elves all the weirdness left leaving the Manor as a very large building in the ownership of Hazar.
The session ended with the party returning back to City-State. At first it looked like it would be an adventure getting back there with the civil war spreading. But Alia, a human burglar, had stuff a boat into her bag of holding. When this happened a couple of session ago, she was mocked for it but now it came in handy as the party used it to slip pass the opposing forces and sail back into City-State's harbor.
One hallmark of my campaigns is that I like to slip in a time travel adventure, alternate reality or similar weirdness. This time I decided to go with the elves trying to "reward" the party by putting them into a enchanted alternate reality.
What made it weirder is that when they came out that Argo and Caleb where with them. Two individuals they met in the alternate reality. All the stuff they enchanted or bought came out with them as well. Although nothing that the elves gave them directly like the royal decrees and writs. Everything they learned about the civil war was also apparently true.
I am always nervous when running these adventures because with shifting time lines and questions of what is reality things can get confusing. But this seemed to went over well and by the end the party has a definite sense of where they want to go.