Wednesday, 8 May 2019

The Library of Planarium - D&D 5e

The Library of Planarium - D&D 5e - 6th May 2019

Even though my recent circumstances have dictated that I cannot get out for my usual mid-week gaming sessions, I have been very lucky to have been able to play in several weekend and holiday sessions this year.

Monday was a Bank Holiday in the UK, so the afternoon and evening was a trip back to D&D 5th Edition adventuring. I was able to amend and play my 4th level Ranger (whom I have used on two occasions previously this year - but I have not documented his adventures). There were seven players and the DM involved in this session - quite a number to fit around the table, but it seemed to go off without a hitch.

This adventure ended up being a three-section, two dungeon affair. The first part involved a bit of roleplay in a small town, followed by a trip to a local mine to discover more clues, and the denouement being inside some kind of elder being's brain! As we were limited for time, a fair bit of the adventure was rushed through to get us to the good parts.

The party arrived together in the small town of Bellium on the Sword Coast. Some characters had been there before, so were known to the local populace and, as a result, they were all called to a meeting of the town council. The party was told that around a month ago a great comet crashed to the ground on top of the old abandoned mines a few miles distant. Upon investigation, it was found that there was an old library building, protected by certain charms that limited entrance, where the great cosmic rock would have struck.

Since the library had crashed to the ground, three townsfolk had disappeared and a small djinni fair had arrived just a few miles distant even though there is not enough trade in the environs to keep the town going let alone beings of such magisterial renown. The Town Council requested that the adventurers investigate the disappearance of their friends and try to work out why the library was there and see if they could do something about it.

The party decided to talk to some of the locals after the meeting with the town council to get further clues. They ended up following one of the only two people left who worked the mines several decades ago before it was abandoned due to the ore running out. The other was on the missing persons list.

The trip to the abandoned mines was uneventful, so the party took the lead from Old Albert and went looking for Old George in the disused tunnels where it was known he had a still. It didn’t take long to find Old George but he had been possessed and took off his best mate’s head with a spade. The party restrained and tied the old fellow up before continuing deeper into the mines to discover who or what might have caused the old timer’s possession.

It didn’t take them long to encounter the denizens of the abandoned mines; rats, and giant ones at that! These didn’t prove to be too much of a problem for the party, but after an encounter with a dozen or so, a rest was required. Unfortunately, their rest was broken by the scurrying sound of more rat paws; this time in the form of rat men.

Another brief fight ensued, with the party continuing on to discover their lair after dispatching the first gang of rat men. It wasn’t long before they found the nest and were attacked by another pack of slavering rat men pushing their giant scorpion familiar before them. One of the rat men was able to cast a few spells, but after a while it dawned on the adventurers that he too seemed to be possessed. However, the party of seven adventurers proved too strong and adept at fighting for the rat men, and they were soon put to the sword.

In need of rest, the adventurers holed up in the rat men’s lair to bandage their wounds. They were just settling down when they were surprised by a minotaur that was invisible until the moment it struck one of the party members.

The minotaur also seemed to be possessed and fought with a tenacity that many a hero would have been proud of. Fortunately for the party, this stopped its master, a mind-flayer, from being able to deploy its full quotient of attacks on them. After many minutes of frantic fighting, magical toing-and-froing, party member deaths (reduced to 0 HP or below) and revivals, the foul creature from the Void was finally laid to rest.

It was at this point that a bunch of celestial beings with their attendant clerics and paladins decided to show themselves. They cured and revitalised the party members who needed succour (pretty much all of them) before requesting their aid against the Elder Brain that inhabited the library. The party were told that the brain had been mostly subdued but there was just one remaining section that needed to be put out of action. To do this, the party were needed to enter the brain, pour a calming fluid into particular receptacles, one chamber at a time, whilst the celestials, clerics and paladins fought the Elder Brain from the outside thus causing a diversion. The party agreed and were ushered into the tube that led to the first chamber.

There were six chambers in all, with the final one being only partially subdued, and therefore the most dangerous. Each pulsating chamber was reached by cutting through a thin membrane into the adjoining one and then the vials containing the subduing liquid needed to be poured into the receptacles within in order to finally subdue that portion of the brain.

The first chamber was empty and so the party decided to cleanse the second chamber before returning to complete the first one. The fluid was poured into the receptacle and the chamber began a frantic pulsing as it tried to fight the subduing liquid. Meantime it also put out tentacles of red ectoplasm from a pool at its centre to entangle the party. These tentacles proved to be easy to avoid, and when the chamber fell asleep, the tentacles stopped bothering the adventurers.

The party returned to the first chamber and put that one to sleep too with no ill effects. The third chamber proved to be a challenge as half-a-dozen or so horrors emerged from some pools of black goo to fight off the party. However, the magic using members of the band managed to put paid to their attacks and they were soon dispatched.

The next couple of chambers proved to be a little more difficult due to the psionic blasts that the adventurers had to fight against, but time and again these blasts were resisted by just enough people to allow the serum to be poured into the holes and put those chambers to sleep.

Just before entering the final chamber each party member heard the voice of the Elder Brain stating that they would not be able to defeat it as those outside were also unable to cause it harm. Just to illustrate its point, the death screams of another paladin echoed through the chamber; much like the screams the party had heard on a few other occasions on their journey through the brain.

When the party stepped through the membrane and into the final chamber, the chamber grew to ten times its original size and there were now three receptacles; it was only now that they noticed the large pulsating brain in the middle of the room. The party split up and raced towards the far end of the chamber to pour the contents of the vials into the receptacles.

Unfortunately for all, whilst they were on their way to the far end of the chamber, the Elder Brain hit them with psionic blasts and summoned more of the critters they encountered in the third chamber. Magic and psionic resistance was tested to its limits but eventually the three receptacles were reached and the serum poured down the correct one to cause the brain’s activities to subside and for it to fall into a slumber.

The celestials and paladins broke through and joined the party and thanked them for their help. Unfortunately, there was no treasure to be gained; only the knowledge of a job well done and the rewards that the town offered for the solution to the mysteries.

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