We finished the Epyllion campaign last weekend, with a big epic rush to the finish!
I realize now that I’ve been remiss in writing up our sessions. Our November session had Kiddo’s dragon seeing impending danger from the noseless dragon. In a December session that I forgot to write up until now, things… progressed.
Here are some of my raw notes from that session, if anyone cares to take a peek behind the DM’s screen:
Samera’s vision is that the noseless dragon was attacking Afferky the Bold with his pearl necklace. There are strange 2-legged creatures nearby. It’s outside. There are large scars and bruises all over Afferky’s body. And nobody is helping him because the noseless dragon cast a spell on them.
Since Lydia had made a solemn vow to pursue a quest to “help Afferky the Bold,” we went over some of the trials and tribulations of traveling from the feral colony to wherever Afferky is.
While we did that, I was panicking because, ha hah, I did not intend for Afferky and the noseless one to be separate dragons. But we’re playing to find out, and I remind myself that the 8 year old is a better GM than me.
I make a few notes about the upcoming challenges. A lot of the challenges have to do with talking– everyone is still treating Samsmelt as if he’s an adversary.
The party went to where Afferky’s body, stone-petrified, lay in the shallows of the ocean. They cast some very powerful magics and transformed him back to his body, but he was almost completely mindless– almost like a feral dragon (I kept that connection). He accompanied the party, but didn’t want to be violent or imposing to anyone– he was kind of a pacifist in his child-like state.
Lydia, meanwhile, still had the quest drawing her on. She led the party north and west and finally up into the skies, where a floating island with a castle on it soared above the clouds.
Lydia communed with the object of her quest, “Afferky” and was told that she needed to prove herself worthy by going through the castle to the tower on top. There are traps and hazards, but he’s sure she can make it.
That’s where we left things for about a month while holidays and the winter cold season dashed a lot of our gaming plans. In the meantime, Dad and Kiddo named the noseless dragon “Smoldevort,” and I liked it so much I kept it.
Last week, our final session of the campaign, we started without session moves, because I wanted us to stay focused on the quest at hand. Lydia had already taken 2 or 3 points of Shadow. Trogdor and Samsmelt were similarly affected. The party debated their approach: the cavernous front door, or the spiral tower with the “fronds” sticking up.
The spiral tower is apparently a draconic staircase (as easy to slide down as it is to climb or wing upwards) with a column of crackling, dark magic in the center. Distantly, Samera could hear a song in the tower, a beautiful song called the Song of Victory (a dungeon move).
Song of Victory: When you sing the Song of Victory, you instantly succeed at what you were doing as if you rolled a 10 or better. You take a point of Shadow, which cannot be prevented in any way.
Lydia’s advice was that they needed to overcome the challenges inside. Trogdor attempted to cast a powerful storm spell and knock the tower over, but something in the tower sucked away the spell’s magic entirely.
The party opted at that point for the front door (with only a little grumbling of “DM cheating” from Dad).
There, they encountered a group of feral dragons. Because of their previous experiences with these creatures, they were able to talk their way through, just handing over a sheep skeleton to pay the “tribute” to enter.
Next, they discovered that the castle was larger inside than outside, and they came to an abrupt drop-off, a large open shaft with that column of dark magic rising up from the center. A deep mist filled the shaft, making it hard to see anything.
Along the walls, though, there was movement. The party could see flickering tails and eyes, thousands of small (3′ or so) lizards, some with satchels and harnesses on their bodies, all with black pearl necklaces.
Samera snatched one of the pearls to devour for her devour the darkness move, but tripped and toppled into the shaft. She found that she couldn’t even catch air with her wings, and plummeted to the fog-filled bottom. To keep herself from being hurt, she sang the Song of Victory, trading a complete success for a point of Shadow. She chose to separate herself from her loved ones and hid among the broken rocks and stalagmites below.
Alone, she swallowed the pearl, which showed her a vision of herself, the brightest and best hero of Dragonia. She slunk away from the rest of the party, even when Lydia and Trogdor bravely dove down into the unfathomable, foggy depths to find her.
Trogdor again attempted to blow away the mist with a storm, and once more it was fouled by the negation magic. Although frustrated, at this point he started to put his mind to it, realizing that, of the five Moon Magics, the one the party knows least about is Void. If anything can negate a spell, that would be it.
The party eventually reunited in the foggy base of the shaft. Both Lydia and Samera had been able to cast moon spells– small ones, with little flashy effect– but Trogdor viewed this as meaning he alone was being targeted by their adversary.
Lydia, meanwhile, during this phase of the adventure, finally succumbed to her Shadowself, and became arrogant and demanding. She had to prove to everyone that she and only she was the capable one to lead them out of the darkness!
With no updraft to carry them, the party climbed up the rock face to Samsmelt and Afferky, and berated Samsmelt for not following them. “What? I was keeping an eye on Afferky the Dumb, here.”
They decided to head up towards the top of the tower, eventually finding a space where it opened up. There, the open spiral staircase beckoned.
I made an error here envisioning the shaft and spiral, and kept describing as if they were going from the shaft directly into the room where Smoldemort was waiting.
They reach the top of the spiral, tired, and confront Smoldemort. Smoldemort pushes Trogdor into the dark void column when he tries to cast a spell, resulting in Trogdor becoming trapped! Oh, no! He can see out, though, and perceives that he is hanging from the neck of one of the lizards– he’s inside one of the pearls!
He quickly tries to figure out how to get out, realizing that he’s going to need some Freedom magic to make it work. When Samera casts a Freedom spell later, he uses it to crack the pearl and escape–
–only to find himself inside a different pearl, this one much larger, but increasingly more and more crowded as hundreds of dragons suddenly arrive, having been thrown here by Smoldemort’s counterspell. Inside, however, is Afferky the Bold– the real Afferky– trying to patiently solve the problem of his centuries-long captivity. He explains that Smoldevort and he were both masters of Void magic, and that Smoldevort had trapped him after the First War. He and Trogdor consult to find a solution.
Lydia and Smoldemort have words– she cows him into believing she is “the one” and he hands her the largest of the pearls, which she shatters. The resulting explosion blows her out of the room, leaving her clinging to the edge.
In the end, Samera releases Smoldemort from his hatred, using the Song of Victory and sacrificing her own self by taking a Shadow point to save him. She also encourages Lydia to take her claw, bringing Lydia back from her Shadowself.
All of the dragons within the pearls are released and the room fills as hundreds of dragons–some dating from the First War– fly free into the skies! When the skies clear, Afferky the Bold is nowhere to be found.
When the party returns to Dragonia with their stories, they give Samsmelt the castle in the sky. Unfortunately, the island floats off into the skies and is never found again, leaving Samsmelt with no Great Work to present to his people. He pursues a new tack, eventually making an artifact of great power.
Lydia takes up a post patrolling the Hell Chasm, worried for the safety of her kind from the demons within.
Trogdor spends his life learning everything he can about Void magic, even going so far as to recover the ability to cast it himself. He writes a book on the subject, the most comprehensive treatise on this often-overlooked Moon.
Samera retires to the Great Library, where she becomes a sage of the Darkness and the authority on Afferky and Smoldevort.
After this session ends, we talk about the next campaign, which will be Dungeon World, and Dad is going to GM for us (he’s a very experienced GM; I’m looking forward to the game). We ask Kiddo if she wants to start with a new map, or if we can play in Dragonia’s map, perhaps thousands of years later, after the Age of Dragons is over and now the Age of Humankind has begun.
She decides on “this map,” but we all agree that we can’t know anything about what is where. The places where humans are from are the Forest of Man and the Human Farm island. These are the cradles of our new civilization, and all the ancient places of Dragonia will be the ruins in which we explore.