This is a little recap of a few consecutive D&D sessions I had with my friends. In fact, the first portion of this recap of one session, the party went without their Paladin for the week. With the person behind the paladin unavailable for the session, I macguffined his character to be stuck in a stasis bubble as the portal they entered got rerouted by a lord for sidequest shenanigans. Originally, the party tracked down a portal which they thought would bring them to the cult they were trying to take down. But a lord from a few towns back, Lord Garland of Coalwall, dragonborne sorcerer, took an interest in their exploits, and decided to just bring them back in order to hire them for a sidequest. And in his reasoning, the paladin wouldn't be a good fit for the contracts so he went through the trouble of stealing her away for a bit for his quest.
Once every couple hundred of years, a mysterious castle in a pocket dimension opens its gates to throw a lavish ball of food and gambloring. The master of the castle calls himself Lord Auric, and sends out enchanted invitations randomly to summon guests to partake in a night of fun and hedonism. Garland had received an invitation, but is more interested in rumors of a special treasure then the party itelf. Rumor has it, a powerful artifact is in Auric's possession, called the Heart of Gold, and he wants it for his collection of arcane curios. Now Garland doesn't specify how to get ahold of it, so of course the party defaults to making a plan to steal it.
After reciting the incantation on the invitations, they arrive in the pocket dimension with an incredible, gold castle taking up space in an inky black void. Hundreds of other patrons begins warping in as a garish and golden man, Lord Auric, steps out of the castle gates to welcome everyone to the grandest ball in all the realms. The party goes their separate ways to do some recon. Xero, the bugbear rogue, begins to stuff his face in the dining room. Jenava, the assimir ranger entered the art gallery after seeing on the map that it was the back most room in the manor. Rolli the bard is immediately interested in the gamblor hall, and is handed a bag of 10 platinum from a servant to begin gambloring. As a testament to Auric's wealth, the bag is purely to give anyone a fun start in gambloring, but they aren't expected to gamblor with it and can just walk out with their one bag. Rolli and Xero try to disguise themselves in an effort to get more free platinum, which doesn't work. As Jenava does actual recon with art hints and social interaction, Rolli and Xero begin gambloring with actual playing cards I bring to the table.
The fun of the session came from playing blackjack. Jeneva came to play one hand, bet his entire bag, and immediately hit 21 and walked away with everything he needed. Xero busted twice and tried to steal another bag instead, with partial success. Rolli actually applied D&D logic and used minor illusion to just make his cards look like a face card and an ace to hit 21 immediately. After winning two hands, Rolli goes to the bathroom to disguise himself and cheat at blackjack some more before the heat got too hot. None of the perception checks I did as dealer saw through his illusion but I definitely upped the paranoia and perception bonuses as the house got more suspicious of the hot table Rolli was at.
Xero and Jenava stepped into the servant quarters past the art gallery and tried to figure out how to open a locked door with an alarm spell. For whatever reason, Xero encountered a goblin after creating a distraction in the bathroom, jamming it after shoving down an entire cheese wheel and establishing character development that he is lactose intolerant. He asked if the goblin could disarm the alarm spell and he said he knew a friend who was a goblin engineer. Of course, a goblin engineer is a humanoid who specializes in solving engineering problems with explosions. After whipping out a stick of dynamite, the ranger tried to stop him while the rogue stopped him, saying, "Wait, let's see how this plays out."
The door got blown open, and finding the Heart of Gold wasn't a problem after that. Rolli had been setting up a bard concert the entire time to help feed the distraction going on. When Xero and Jeneva burst out the art gallery back into the foyer, the golden statue in the center came to life in an effort to capture them. Luckily, Rolli created a smokescreen and Jeneva dragged Xero along with Expeditious Retreat to beat a hasty escape after Xero told the goblin to throw more dynamite to knock the golden statue back to buy them time to cast the return spell.
In the next session, our paladin came back. In the aftermath of the return and the paladin rejoining the real session, everyone found out that I decided to make the Heart of Gold an artifact capable of casting Wish, with the some parameters as the spell and capable of recharging its charge in the presence of heroic and selfless deeds. The party, coming to the consensus that they didn't want to make anymore trouble then they already have, decided to hand over the artifact as agreed. While they waited for Garland to reconstruct the portal they originally entered in order to be on their way for their quest, they visited Coalwall again. They found their notoriety was enough to have a statue built in their legacy, and the mine shaft they ventured into originally was converted into a theme park ride chronicling their battle against the trolls, with its rather limited budget.
After taking care of a conservationist side quest involving eliminating them displacers, when they went to get their reward from Ogre, the ogre mayor, they found their gold began talking to them as Lord Auric used the gold as a conduit to find them, demanding his artifact back.
At the next session, the portal was finally reconstructed, and the paladin decided to charge in head first as fit for his character. The party ended up in a cavernous poolside area, lit by shallow waters. To their surprise, the pools were filled with writhing, maggot like creatures. As they progressed through the seemingly deserted castle, they came across a lone human strapped down to a torture rack. It turns out, they've warped into a mind flayer lair deep in the Underdark, and by their guessthe very one which is probably being sieged by a dwarven army that they tipped off earlier.
The party ended up coming up from behind the enemy frontlines, clashing with the dwarven army at the castle gates. Xero decided to help break the ranks with a powder keg from a donkey he bought. After receiving explosive training from the goblin engineer (I gave him profeciency in any checks involving black powder), Xero bought 10 kegs alongside a mule from a stable just so he can start bombing whatever he felt deserved it. The party also subdued a duegar from a group that was raining javelins down on the dwarves. The paladin took charge of their prisoner and decided to send him to the dwarven army in order to properly send him away to prison for rehabilitation, rather than outright death.
The objective now is to reach the central chamber of the castle, where the elder brain was located in its personal brine tank, and subdue it with a does of of arcane water from an enchanted spring in a myconid village, which will turn its brine into a loopy conconction. Before getting to that, the party had a short encounter as their gold sprang to life from Auric finding them and turning 400 of their gold into a gold golem. After a brief scuffle followed by an argument about re-dividing their gold back amongst themselves, the party ventured back into the castle, and after finding the new frontline after being pushed back, the party doubled back from the circular nature of the map to sneak up on the mind flayer line again. In the path, the group came across the treasure room and library, where they found new magic items. Xero found a helm of detect thoughts, which he mistakenly believed his rusty sword was letting him detect thoughts, and Rolli found a sword of psionic damage, as discovered when Xero's rusty sword passed through his. However, most of this testing was discovered as Xero kidnapped injured and unconscious mind flayers in the backline, and torturing them with their new weapons in order to learn their purpose. Which lead to the discussion that even though they were evil creatures, the geneva conventions probably still apply and they'd be guilty of real world war crimes in most cases.
After one more explosive keg to rattle the frontlines, Rolli used the confusion of the explosion to slip into the nearby central chamber disguised and finally slip the arcane juice into the brine, simeltaneously subduing the elder brain and all the mind flayers connected to its neural network.
And that does it for three straight sessions of D&D with the gang. Hopefully my paladin can feel caught up reading this himself and you guys find some enjoyment from this D&D recap.