Saturday, April 28, 2012

Al-Qadim: More Formalhaut

I’m a bit behind with the write-ups of my Al-Qadim campaign, so here’s a summary of a session 4 weeks ago.
The Isle of Hakiyah
Last time, the group had begun to explore the Isle of Hakiyah (The Isle of Arsinoi, renamed). This session, the PCs continued to explore the isle. In the ruins of a small port city, they fought killer vines, and entered the storerooms of Batrakheias. There they found the bodies of giant frogs, stored in wooden vats, an altar to an unknown frog god, and the shambling putrefying form of Batrakheias himself. While Bakri, Shihab and Zobeida attacked him, Jamal (the nine-eyed dwarf) decided to offer one of the giant frogs to the altar. It had no effect (because the frog was already dead), but when Batrakheias was slain, his body turned into a tide of giant frogs.  Of course the other PCs blamed Jamal.
In the open amphitheater of the town, the PCs witnessed rehearsals for a play conducted by a serpent demon and performed by an ensemble of skeletons and shadows. The demon was looking for actors in the play, and because the PCs were afraid they would have to fight the 45 skeletons if they refused, they agreed. It turned into a funny improvised version of Romeo and Juliet, in which old man Bakri played the female lead with the help of a change self spell.
The Isle of Molonei
So we finished the scenario, but it was still early, so started another adventure: The lookout on the ship saw storm clouds ahead, and the ship had to moor at another island. I have selected a number of scenarios from different sources for this campaign sequence, but I don’t actually have a map of the sea with the location of the islands. So I used another old school technique to decide which island the characters landed on: I rolled a die. By coincidence, I ended up with the Isle of Molonei, another one of Melan’s islands in Knockspell #4.
The island existed of two mountainous peaks, towering over thick woodlands and inhabited by pterodactyls. A city was built into the side of the mountains, still inhabited by a refuge of hedonists. Among the ruins the PCs encountered a group of lovers, which invited the PCs to join them. They refused, as id proper for enlightened Zakarans, except for Jamal, who undressed and followed the hedonists into the subterranean city. Now the others had to get them back.
The city’s inhabitants believed the PCs to be sent by Snolog, their benevolent snail-god, to see an end to the amoeboid monsters that dragged off so many. The PCs agreed that the hedonists should be enlightened, and Bakri, the mystic priest, decided to tell them about the Loregiver. He climbed the stairs to the temple of Snolog, but that put him within range of the idol and fell under it’s spell, filling him with all-consuming lust. Soon he joined the hedonists in their lovemaking, until the old man passed out from the effort and the others could drag him outside.
This was a funny session, and the players later remembered it as that session (that is, the session Bakri went sex-crazy).
The scenarios are light on detail, but they contain everything I need and they are very easy to run. Much easier than the Al-Qadim modules, in fact, where the information I need is often buried in too much more detail.

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