Campaign Update (part #2): Mage in a Box

Posted on October 25, 2010


“Late in the night, you all have a dream of a beautiful young mage. While the details between you vary, you all realize that it is the same mage, and there must be some message behind the visions….

This was how I started out the second session. After setting up a set of encounters in MasterPlan to get the mage into the party, it was quite easy to incorporate it into the current story path, since the party had taken a rest (and somebody, not naming names… fell asleep on watch).

Mage in a Box

Here is the way the session played out.  The images (not the photos) all came out of MasterPlan and were printed along with all the campaign instructions and notes.

DM’s Note: I know that the whole “vision while sleeping” thing is a bit cliché, but in my defense,  three of the players are between 11 – 14 years old, so they probably haven’t seen it done that much, yet.  It’s what I could come up with on quick notice and with my relatively weak DM skills.

“Save the mage, save the world”

Party Make-up:

  • Lee (Human Knight)
  • DonWarden (Elf Cleric)
  • SteeleWolfe (Human Assassin)
  • Buffy (Halfling Thief)

Encounter overview

Each player received a slip of paper with one of these sentences written on it:

  • You feel that the mage in the vision is located close to you. You think that she is through a door, or curtain, or small hole???
  • You get the impression that mage is important to your quest, and you must seek her out.
  • Something about the way the mage speaks makes you feel uneasy, like she’s trying to tell you something, but you keep hearing it wrong.
  • Throughout the vision, you see glimpses of something small, silver (or gold???) and it seems very important.

The party talks quite a bit about the implications of the vision and decides to search for the mage, if it doesn’t distract from the overall quest of finding the necromancer.  I am able to continue to hone my DM skills as I decide that the only doors (visible) out of the room are surrounds (no… infused) with a glowing blue energy (that smells of blueberries.  Yes, the assassin smelled it).

Acid Trap

This focused the search on a secret door, that was found behind a bookcase.

Acid Trap

“The room is filled with statues of old gods. you see some bones of what might have been a person laying in the middle of the room.

Upon entering the room, Lee (Knight) takes the lead and promptly triggers the acid trap.   After burning his feet, he jumped back and was able to clean it off his armor before it did more damage.  Remember that chain that they picked up from the last session?  I didn’t either, but they did, and the thief rolled a natural 20 to jump between the walls and over the trap, taking the chain with her, then securing one end to a statue in the room.

The other end was secured to the door and the party shimmied across the chain to safety.  Great thinking on their part.  They search the room, with no avail, other than to notice some weird-looking goo on the floor.  Like the acid, but not exactly the same.

As they made their way to the other door, the DonWarden (Cleric) made a small prayer to Peylor at the statue of him, granting (DM rolls d20 = 20!) +1 bonus to Attack and Damage for the rest of the day.

Rescue the Mage

As you enter the room you see a figure that you recognize as the mage from your visions, floating inside a circle of blue-ish crackling energy

The mage holding cell room.

After the requisite listen, pick lock, check for traps….  The party entered the room with the mage.  The mage is floating inside a magical cell.  She is able to move and react to the characters, but just watches them as they enter.

The mage floats in a magical cell.

After some discussion on the effects of the cell, who may have put her there and why, the party decides to try to speak with her.  At first she is reluctant to talk, but as the party asks more questions, the mage answers.  However, it’s apparent that the mage is uncomfortable talking to the party, and the players realize that she may not be giving wholly truthful answers.
DonWarden decides to test the magic cell, and throws a handful of “rubbish” at the mage… which hits her square on in the face.  Lee and DonWarden come up with the idea of trying to lasso the mage and pulling her through the barrier, but as the rope flies toward the barrier a bolt of energy streaks down it and deals damage to Lee.  It becomes obvious that the magic surrounding the mage is able to discern attempts to rescue her.
Meanwhile, SteeleWolfe and Buffy search the area and stumble upon some runes carved into the stone around the circle.  DonWarden is easily able to read these runes as being “Earth”, “Air”, “Water” and “Fire”.

Surrounded by runes!

DM’s Note:  Yes, you’ve probably already guessed by now, I used the 5th Element puzzle.  I realized that they would find it and probably get it quickly, but I didn’t want to spend too much time getting the mage into the group.  And it was easy to add to the quest.  Interestingly enough, it took them a long time to figure it out.  Most of them were ready to leave the mage and come back later, until the Cleric said “Why don’t we try to put stuff on these runes?”….

Also, the mage had shown the party a golden key that she had, one that matched Lee’s vision.
On the count of three, everyone put the type of element need on the rune next to them, and the mage field dissipated and blinked out of existence, freeing the mage!
After the mage was freed, she was able to tell them that she had been imprisoned by the necromancer who inhabited this place, although she didn’t know how long she had been in the cell.  She had found the key to a magical door, and was seeking to end a great evil when she and her two party mates had collapsed, as if crushed by a great weight.  The last thing she remembered was seeing blood pouring from the other men, then she blacked out, and awoke in the cell.  The cell had forced her to lie to anyone she encountered, and she had given up almost all hope of being rescued.
Next:  Mmmm… Jello!
Posted in: D&D 4e, Gaming