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Unfathomable! Session 23

Ye Dogs of Destiny—captured and at the mercy of their enemies!

The Campaign: Operation Unfathomable! and Odious Uplands!, both by Jason Sholtis

The Ruleset: 5e

Ye Dogs of Destiny:

  • Brother Ded, a monk/political shit-stirrer. 
  • Mort, a fugitive from Imperial justice. 
  • Greta, a baby-eating hag-turned-Citizen Lich. 
  • Ulther, a ranger and artifact smuggler. 
  • Zinee, a wooly neanderthal druid/cosmetologist. 
  • Toljin, a magical boy raised by pirates. 
  • Doloth, an unwilling-Citizen Lich. (absent)

The Story So Far

Ye Dogs of Destiny have traveled into the Underworld, faced unspeakable horrors, and suffered hideous mutations in pursuit of the Nul Rod. But upon their return to the surface world, they find themselves placed under arrest!

Session 23

Psaltir 22, 4th Bell

It is three days later. Ye Dogs of Destiny have been dragged back to Fort Enterprise in chains. Their treasures and possessions have been locked away, and they have been dumped in a tent in the middle of an Imperial garrison outside the Fort's walls.

Their captors are a squad of Imperial Elites. Ten elite guards, and three extraordinary agents of Syantides. There is a gaunt lich named Läthe, dressed in white linen. A powerfully built man whose body is half-covered in hideous, puckered scars, but who possesses the most magnificent mustache. And a young woman with short blond hair and a perpetual sneer, Captain Yeel, sworn enemy of Greta.

As the Party stewed in captivity, they had several visitors. 

Lathë popped into the tent first. "You were in the company of a citizen lich named Doloth. What became of him?" Lathë is Doloth's daughter, and I assumed he'd turn her into an ally when they were reunited. But Doloth's player couldn't continue with the campaign, so she's another enemy. They told her he was lost in the Underworld, and she lost all interest in them.

Yeel came to threaten and taunt Greta. "You would have claimed my soul by increments. I will now dismantle you the same way. Slowly, for as long as I like." I wish I could recall the exact phrasing of Greta's reply, because it was a masterwork of unrepentant disdain. It was along the lines of "Maybe next time you'll ask the price before you buy," but so well stated that there was applause from the table. Yeel, not easily cowed, darted out of the tent without a good comeback.

Next, Gokorius and Yithreela, two powerful wizards, bribed a guard to be let in to interrogate the Party. They were eager to learn more about the state of inter-godling politics in the Underworld, and to observe the effects of Chaos radiation on the Party. Greta is determined to kill Gokorius for casting Dominate Person on her early in the campaign, and now Mort is just as eager for his blood, because Gokorius is a one-trick pony that also cast Dominate Person on him in order to get a full accounting of their experiences. 

Zinee was delighted to see Yithreela again, with whom she has a one-sided bond. She asked if Yithreela could help them out. Yithreela didn't recognize Zinee at first, but eventually assured her that she would see that nothing bad happened to them. "Your tissues are absolutely saturated with Chaos radiation, which makes you incredibly valuable to my research. I'll clear this up and get you transferred to my lab and we'll take a nice brain sample from you and get to the bottom of this, okay?" A guileless Zinne immediately responded "Okay!" and could not understand her party-members objections.

Gokorius and Yithreela had to nip out quickly when they heard more official visitors approaching: Countess Ploomb and her muscle, Chenchko the Champion of Mur. Ploomb wanted to know about the fate of the Nul Rod. The Party gave her a mostly honest accounting, including the threat it held for lich society. Ploomb seemed less concerned with the eventual fate of the Universe than the immediate political ramifications of the mission's failure.

Between visitors, the Party plotted forms of escape and revenge. Zinee wild-shaped into a weasel to go scout out for their possessions, and accidentally set fire to one of the guard's tents. Brother Ded worked on his manacles. Then, as night fell, they had one more drop-in: Adola the barmaid. She is now a political revolutionary, bent on tearing down the Governor's Manse. She and a band of black-clad, stealthy barbarians (the Party immediately dubbed them "barbinjas," because who can resist a clumsy portmanteau?) snuck in, freed the Party, and filled them in on their plans. "The attack begins tonight! No gods! No masters!"

Adola was taken aback to find ye Dogs of Destiny, whom she admires and feels great gratitude towards, in the company of the Apis Irregulars, who framed her for murder. However, she quickly came around to the idea that "This is how those with power pit us against each other and keep their victims divided."

Mort and Greta made a case that the Wizard's Dormitory was a greater danger than the Governor's Manse. Adola could see the sense in that, but she was so focused on her previous plan that she keep slipping back to it as a default. The party then used the Satchel of Magic Missive to send Countess Ploomb a letter, claiming that Governor Krofax had sent Gokorius to telepathically interrogate them, and that he now knew how to retrieve the Nul Rod from the Gods. They weren't entirely certain what sort of outcome they were hoping for out of this, but figured more chaos was better in the current circumstances.

A couple barbinjas retrieved the Party's supplies, and folks suited up. Mort was still heartbroken over the loss of Boomer, the Sword of Destruction, but reluctantly accepted the Headsman's Blade.

Stepping out of the tent, they were immediately attacked by devilish smoke-shapes rising from a witch-iron brazier in the middle of the tents. This alerted the night guards, who raised an alarm and started shooting arrows. Roll initiative!

Lathë was the first out of her tent, and began attacking with thorny vine-whips. Mort's first swing with the Headsman's Blade was a crit, which beheaded Lathë.  An auspicious start!

But guards kept emerging from the tents, and it wasn't too long before Captain Yeel and the mustachioed man emerged. The man, Seberotzi the Mad, was now wearing half-armor that looked like blobby black tar covered in lolling eyes and gnashing mouths—a gibbering mouther worn as armor! Seberotzi made quick work of Auruna and Smash, dragging them in close with whipping tendril attacks, and then cutting them down with his horrible, toothy sword, God Biter.

Captain Yeel the Undying focused her attention on Greta, kicking the old woman prone and grabbing the pommel of a sword tattooed on her throat to draw forth Nine Lives, the cursed sword Greta had given her.

Bother Ded, Zinee, and Krodok formed a pretty solid block on the middle of the camp, occupying the Elite Guards and absorbing most of the damage being dealt. Toljin, Professor Thontorius, and Shantora Lax struck from behind their companions, and were steadily whittling down the guards. 

Adola and the barbinjas, meanwhile, were climbing the walls of Fort Enterprise. Adola called from the top of the palisade, "You've got this! We're going to burn down the Manse!"

All the while, the witch-iron brazier is continuing to inflict damage to anyone in its range while also healing the beheaded Lathë. And the Party's focus on the guards have left Yeel and Seberotzi uncovered.

We had to end mid-round. Which means one more session to wrap the campaign!


Along with their characters, each player is also playing an NPC: a member of the Apis Irregulars and Professor Thontorius. So the first round-and-a-half of combat was very slow. But now that the numbers on both sides are getting whittled down, I think things will perk up.

Having the PCs captured and returned to Fort Enterprise was a seat-of-the-pants response to how the game unfolded, but I'm glad it worked out that way. Having a chance for a bunch of NPCs from the beginning of the game to show back up is helping create a sense of completion to the campaign]

Greta and Ulfer's players were the hosts, and they pulled out all the stops with themed snacks, including Eyes of Shaggath-Ka, gummi worm soldier cookies, and fungal treats.

Here's a view of how we've been playing at the table: with a big monitor in a transportable wooden case to display Roll20, and vintage wooden pawns:

It does get a little confusing which pawn is which, so here's a map I made after the session to recall exact positions:

The Party is making decent progress on the enemies, but I don't know how they're doing for HP and spell slots. I suspect several are very close to dropping. I haven't been using all the enemies abilities against them, especially Yeel, who has a pretty serious set of legendary actions, because I think that would be too much. But if they take out the remaining guards pretty quickly, it'll be time for Yeel to power up.


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