Against the Lord of the Pit - Our Latest Campiagn

So, I've put up a couple of posts with photos from my group's latest Dungeons & Dragons adventures without providing any real context.

I suppose it's well past time to rectify that.

I'll try to summarize the current campaign as succinctly as possible. But be warned: I may fail abysmally - this has been a massive undertaking. So massive, in fact, that I had to walk away from the game for a bit because it was so taxing on me creatively, mentally, and emotionally. (Aside from the history involved (more on that below), the sessions were mostly improvisational. And there were several game sessions in which we were all moved to tears by the events taking place.) It was so draining that it often took me days to recover from our weekly 8- to 10-hour sessions.

So I'll start at the beginning - sort of.

Hildegard the witch awoke up from a dream of battles against giants, nefarious plots of spider goddesses and their deep-dwelling elf followers, and rising strife between her and her allies (over a plan to commit genocide upon an entire drow city). She awoke naked, except for the bracers given to her (in the dream?) by her father; a pouch on a leather thong around her neck that contained three unique crystals, two given to her by her father and mother, and one taken from the crypt of a lich; and a small vial on a string around her neck that bore a lead seal stamped with a web motif and that held two doses of what she knew instantly to be Whimsy Wine.

She awoke from a dream of another life in the bed of a massive, white-haired man.

That's how the new campaign began.

So, taking a step back - to the real beginning of the story. You may recall Hildegard ("Hildy") from the previous actual play posts that began at The Keep on the Borderlands. My partner and I began playing with a new third player, and she wanted to continue playing Hildy but I wanted to break from the murder-hobo campaign into which Hildy had originally been born. You see, I've been crafting a massive story for over 25 years, creating cultural histories and family trees and weaving a mythic backdrop that involved a never-ending struggle against an ancient evil. I wanted to finally put it into play, and I knew it was right up the proverbial alley of my partner and our third player. I knew they would love the story and help me turn it into something special.

And that's exactly what they did.

(Granted, some of this I didn't know until halfway through the first adventure. But it was all lingering there in my subconscious.)

But first, I had to disassociate the character of Hildy from her old life, but not lose everything. I'd already introduced certain aspects of the epic tale into the previous campaign. Namely, the tragic tale of Duke Olgar Ironspur (Hildy's father) and the elf queen, Ilmarien (Hildy's mother). It had taken many adventures for Hildy to discover her true parents' identities, and to weave herself into their tale of true love, duty, and deep secrets. (Hildy being the deep secret - Olgar didn't know he even had a daughter!)

I chose to solve this dilemma by using a little bit of divine intervention. When last we saw Hildy, she was standing with her allies - Father Zogtavius the Zealous and Blacktome the Chaotic - before the drow city of Erelhei-Cinlu. They'd battled (and murdered the hell out of) the giants only to find that their war on humanity was being orchestrated by the drow. With a drow house as their ally, they had penetrated into the Vault of the Drow to deal with threat, as was their charge from the high lords of Geoff.

As they stood before the sunless city, Zogtavius and Blacktome hatched a plan that would most likely result in the collapse of the massive Vault and the destruction of the city. The drow's numerous slaves would be acceptable collateral damage, as far as they were concerned.

Hildy was not thrilled with this plan, to say the least. The thought of murdering so many innocents galled her (and her player). And that's where our D&D campaign with that group of players stalled out.

Fortunately, the gods of Greyhawk (my Greyhawk, that is - similar to the published product but made very much my own world with my own history and gods) had been a strong presence in the campaign, so I decided to use their godly power to solve my problem. Knowing that Lolth would never stand by idly while her worshippers' capital city was laid waste, and that there was only so much murder that Tarak the Defender (Zogtavius' god) would allow in his name, I decided that they had conspired to re-weave the web of fate so that the actions of these "heroes" never threatened the city. (Plus, Zogtavius was well on his way to apotheosis - Tarak, a relatively minor god, didn't want the competition.)

So, reality was changed, and Hildy awoke to a new life with a few reminders of her old life from Tarak, and a "gift" from Lolth. (The quotes are because Hildy - as mentioned in previous posts - was a recovering Whimsy Wine addict. It was a typically Lolth-ian gift.)

But she hadn't appeared in the bed of a total stranger. She would learn, in time, that the muscle-bound behemoth with snow-white hair who was stirring next to her in bed was none other than her cousin, and that they both were part of a bloodline - and a tale - that was bound by The Fates to the destiny of their world (and worlds beyond)...


  1. I am definitely looking forward to reading more about this campaign!

  2. Well, that's bizarre... I replied to your comment, Martin - but it looks like my words were scattered to the aether!

    What I had said was:

    There's definitely more to come! I have hours of recordings and pages of notes to go through (shame on me for not posting after each session) and the game's been so intense, such a gut-wrenching roller coaster ride, I just want to make sure to take the time to give it the treatment it deserves!


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