Hello everybody. Just wanted to share what is probably the best session of DW I’ve ever run (I did pick it up this year or late last year, so shhh :P).
Anyways, it was not only the most fun session, but the most dramatic, hilarious, surprising and climactic session I’ve ever played from either side. And… it was on roll20 :O. In fact, our strength-based ranger (who punches things with dwarf-made indestructible spike-gauntlets) is considering changing classes to Immolator.
What surprised me, was just how well the players did. It was amazing, especially as one of them was new to DW and this was their first game with our group. To be clear: a whole lot happens, and the session was 4 hours long so prepare for super long play by play.
The session started out with the final meeting of a dungeon they just cleared out, barely surviving an ancient stone guardian in the ancient, crumbling temple of Drisgul, the God of Dreams and Prophesy. Everything in the campaign after session 1 has been leading up to this moment, so it’s pretty big what the Oracle tells them.
Because our newest player wanted to play a rogue, and a previous player who had to leave because of scheduling conflicts, we had him take over the original rogue with a plot twist.
Turns out the halfling thief who they left with the dwarves had followed them the entire way back and through the temple without being spotted after he quote ‘got bored’ and decided to come after them, as well as swiping a very important map from the dwarves so he could catch up.
This was all discovered (and frankly, made up to get the new player into the game) as the powerful Oracle of Drisgul ranted and raved at them, but was unable to harm them due to the protection of Huelog our Paladin’s diety, Abbadon. (Who helped bind Drisgul’s powers in the first place, but that’s a story for another day.)
The oracle warns them of many grim portents and drops vague hints, citing ancient laws that keep her from giving out prophecy without a deal being struck despite the impending doom. At one point, she tries to reveal the name of the presence within the mountain (who has been haunting Aldren the wizard’s mind and dreams for several sessions now). But is only able to tell them another God was bound here on Mount Tadaran also.
She answers several other questions and in the process proclaims vague fates for each of the Heroes and their roles in fighting the darkness to come, as well as ‘they’re the realms only hope to be saved from destruction, blah blah, etc etc’. (This group is heading towards the ‘accidently heroes’ archetype. They were in the right place at the right time and are the only ones strong enough to make a difference, etc, etc).
If they want more specific answers they will have to do a heroic deed for her in return, as that is what the ancient law requires in return for a glimpse of one’s future, the Oracle also demands the return of the Keystone, a powerful gem stolen by Abbadon(Archangel of Righteous Sacrifice and Vengeance) and Rizarnos(the God of Justice and Power) and given to the dwarves if they want to see more of their future’s.
However, she also reveals in response to one of the questions that the barbarian invasion about to sweep through the unprepared small town they started in, that they were trying to seek aid about protecting originally when they set out onto Mount Tadaran, have arrived at Icador( the small town), as it is the third day of the ticking time bomb they have been working with (as they calculated that was how long it would take them to reach the town in the first session).
She also reveals that Rook the thief has snuck in the chamber door right before it closed (you know right after the green torches flickered, the emerald mist came and she floated out of a gargoyle-shaped alter) and she demands to be told why he is in her sacred temple, sneaking about like a thief at the door(which duh, he is). He tells her he was bored, straight up and the wind goes from her sails and her theatrics drift away as quick as they came on. She can’t seem to even contemplate the idea of sneaking through holy temples as something to keep the boredom away. I know from that moment on, the new player was gonna mesh well with our group.
From there, they poke around a bit in the temple to see if they should steal anything, but the small Halfling thief is frightened by the reptilian water-dwellers they spotted in the original session(in a passage underneath an ancient crumbling throne)despite a mysterious box he spots for the first time in the water. From here, the players decide they don’t have enough time to plunder the temple: they have Icador to save and they plan to return to the Irongut Clan dwarves( to get to the oracle, they had a brief foray through the dwarven halls) for both the gem, and to rally warriors to come to Icador’s aid.
But upon leaving the temple, they find the dwarven lieutenant Drummond (who set out with them from the halls of the dwarves, but had to turn back) and is an immolator (another short-lived player character. The guy showed up for a single session). He has a large company of dwarves and claims to have returned to come help them with his warriors. However, he also demands the return of the map they noticed Rook stole from the mountain, citing the fact that it could give their enemies intel on the best way to enter and invade the mountain, and the dwarves don’t want it falling into the wrong hands for fear ‘greedy surface-dwellers’ would try to invade and steal their riches and desecrate their ancestral halls. However, he and the dwarves seem to be willing to come to blows over it and the ranger gets suspicious. (Speaking of the ranger, his animal companion, a huge cave spider, is carrying the sleeping paladin, who has passed out after 3 weeks of no sleep during his quest (class move boon grants ability to ignore sleep and food while quest is active.)
When the ranger refuses to give them the map(rook gave it to him to look at while they walked out of the temple), the dwarves get ugly and turn from escorts to trying to imprison them, but Drummond begs them to give it over to prevent bloodshed several times, saying that all they wanted was the map and they could be on their way.
Norken the ranger refuses, striking Drummond across the face with his spike gauntlets and ripping up the dwarf’s face a little. The battle begins, and Norken’s punch results with him taking the blows of several of the 13 dwarves (I didn’t plan this, but yeah, 13 dwarves). The party regroups after taking a fair amount of damage from failed rolls, and the ranger and paladin go wacking, the paladin mostly focused on protecting the wizard and thief with his shield). The ranger completely brutalizes Drummond the Immolator with his indestructible gauntlets but starts burning in the process. A couple(like 4)dwarves freeze in shock after Norken rips his body apart. The rest pile onto the remaining heroes and try to take them down. The thief makes a glancing blow on one of the dwarves, but loses his rapier to harsh dwarf swords and axes as he tries to evade their blows. The wizard tries to leap over the dwarves heads, using the special ability of his dagger to turn a failing roll into a hard choice (without knowing beforehand). Instead of taking blows on his way over, he opts to take no damage but falls right in the middle of the group of dwarves. Fortunately, the paladin comes in and takes out one of his opponents by hurling him into the grass with the force of his flail. Norken takes another round of attacks and stays alive, but barely. Heulog protects Rook long enough for him to get out of the circle of warriors and use his bow instead of his broken rapier. Between the volleys from him and a point-blank fireball(wizard shielded it with his fire-proof cloak)(yes I gave them all two or more artifacts via the dwarves), they take out a good fourth of the dwarves. Norken stays alive long enough for Heulog the paladin to come and heal him up and the party regroups, taking out more dwarves by using arrows, drop-kicking a dwarf into the mountain(Norken) and frightening some off with enchantment(Norken-ranger cantrip). However, there are still about half of them left, and they quickly pile onto heulog and Aldren. Heulog creates 10 feet of space with his flail and the wizard decides that’s enough space for a fireball. Since he’s fairly close, I give him +1 and he rolls a 16(two perfect sixes), and +1d4 damage because of his roll. That’s a huge explosion, man. The wizard hurls the fireball and jumps to shield his friends with his cloak, but he only rolls a partial success and only partially shields the paladin from the flames. Most of the remaining dwarves are turned to ash, but the ranger get’s well crisped too and it’s time for a last breath roll. Appalled by what he’s done, the wizardsinks to his knees with his hands over his face. The paladin wants to comfort him, but is afraid to because of how great his arcane power has become. Fortunately, the giant spider animal companion(who helped eat a dwarf or two during the fight) and rook work together and eliminate the last of the dwarves. One of them surrenders before he get’s taken down, and he is the last remaining dwarf standing on that clifftop.
Now for the last breath roll. Norken is brought before the dark battlemented walls at the gates of death. His patron God, Uther, Dwarven God of the hearth, has sent a messenger wreathed in white flame to guide him in dealing with the grim reaper who stand their watching him with his black empty hood. The grim reaper eventually holds out his hands, one of them containing his cause of death, a small ball of fire, and the other holding an hourglass with his name on it, no longer running. The messenger tells him there is only one way to return to life, and that involved a terrible price that would probably be worth then death. Ever the hero, he reassures him he is willing to pay any price if it means helping the people. The messenger sighs, says it’s up to him and walks away into the shadows of the realm of death. His last breath roll reaffirms this deal with a 7-9, and the reaper, never saying a word this entire time, places the fireball on the top of the hourglass, and it transforms into sand, and the hourglass remains running. When he awakes, his body is whole and unblemished like a newborn babe, but he feels a terrible burning ache in the center of his chest(similar to the deal the immolator got in his one session of play. Which is why we might make him into a gauntlet-wielding immolator. And yes, I brought the Drummond player to 0 hit points in his first and only session. I’m a mean gm Cx. He survived tho, and the player had a lot of fun before he vanished off the face of the earth.)
With the ranger down and the paladin and wizard trying to figure out what to do about it, Rook the thief searched the battlefield for survivors. With his dying breath, Drummon started to tell Rook the real reason the map was so important, but died in pure dramatic style while he was speaking of something hidden beneath the halls of the irongut clan. Heulog( the paladin) left Aldren (the wizard) in his shock and immediately objected when Rook hinted he might torture the remaining dwarf. However Rook chose to use his truth-serum Goldenroot on the dwarf, and when the dwarf tried to flee instead of giving up information, Heulog held him still so that Rook could administer the poison.(Ya know, pinch the nose, gulp it down while big guy holds your arms. Gangsters do it all the time.) After that, the dwarf treated him as a friend and took him off to one side to reveal that the reason they were so scared of warriors and interlopers discovering their caves is because along with Drisgul, a dark and terrible God is bound beneath the halls of the Irongut Clan, bringing the story full circle.
So from this vital information, the heroes were now able to easily and correctly conclude the following:
1. The Dwarves think it’s more important to make sure the God remains bound than help their neighbors despite their sympathy with their plight.
2. The presence that has spoken to Aldren in his dreams and in other occassions, and has threatened him with vengeance for refusing to free them, is, in fact, the dark God.
And the choice they have to make is: go after the gem and maybe repair relations with the dwarves, or rush down to protect icador from a barbarian horde on their own without the army of dwarves they wanted to raise and bring with them.
So that’s my session. I will probably never chronicle a quest like this in so much detail ever again unless people specifically ask for more, but this was my first really epic climactic session I’ve run and I loved it. Tell me what you think if you got this far(like ever) or if you only read the first few parts. Thanks