In Poetics, Aristotle defines peripeteia as “a change by which the action veers round to its opposite, subject always to our rule of probability or necessity.” According to Aristotle, peripeteia, along with discovery, is the most effective when it comes to drama, particularly in a tragedy.
Welcome to the Alt-Magic Campaign, where chaos rules the day, plot twists are abundant, and roleplay takes precedence over calculated machination.
The Oak Hill RPG Club came together last night for another night of 5e Dungeons & Dragons. Joining me at the table were Aaron (Jone), Connor (Abraxas), Joy (Ziyal), Mason (Toman), Rod (Kelwyn), and Shaun (Tim), and via Skype, Michael in Dublin (Akkamas) and Steve in Chicago (Braxton).
Our heroes, reunited in a campsite south of the “Wizard’s Lair” occupied by the Green Flame, a criminal organization run by Damian Hartfang, debated their next course of action. It was agreed that they, along with their horse Phillipe and the diminutive thief Wilbough, would use the magical parchment to teleport to the labyrinth depicted upon it, suspecting the Hand of Vecna was spirited away to that location. Abraxas takes the map from Braxton and casts the spell, but…
Instead of a labyrinthine dungeon, the party found themselves upon the streets of Assayadin, a small port city on the Isle of Mitara just off the coast of Crescentia. The druid Kelwyn notes that, based on the stars overhead, they have not only teleported through space, but also time. They have traveled at least two weeks into the future, possibly more.
Drunken figures stumble along the streets while the city watch looks on. Espying a robed woman tending to an inebriated peasant farmer, Abraxas and Braxton approach and pay the woman for a translation of the Crescentian writing on the map. She directs them to The Hound’s Tooth, an Assayadin Tavern, where they might find one Jace ibn Alhazared, a dealer in magical antiquities of ill-repute.
At this point, the party splits. A common theme with this group. Tim stealthily searches the side streets, Jone slinks off to slither into a nobleman’s disguise, and Wilbough slips into a warehouse with Phillipe, while Ziyal, Toman, Akkamas, Abraxas, Braxton, and Kelwyn enter the tavern.
Tim and Braxton notice Ziyal and Toman pickpocketed by a heavy-laden drunkard. Braxton persuades the thief to return Ziyal‘s waterskin. After, Tim confronts the thief regarding Toman‘s stolen knife, speaking to him in Thieves’ Cant. The cutpurse reveals himself to be Dorfu, a member of the thieves guild, and directs Tim to make contact with Matteus, the Guild’s Street Lieutenant, for permission to operate in the city.
Elsewhere, Jone has a look about, after changing clothes, and stumbles upon an assassination. Attacked and nearly killed, he flees, taking refuge in the warehouse where his wounds are tended to by Wilbough. The two decide to get hammered on cheap wine.
Tim keeps an eye on the assassins who are approached by another “drunk” and a member of the city watch. Seeing the “drunk” slip coin to the watchman, he approaches and overhears the “drunk” give up Jone‘s location and give orders to eliminate him.
Tim approaches them, learning that the “drunk” is Matteus. They strike a deal and Jone‘s life is spared so long as he forgets what he saw that night.
Meanwhile, the rest of the party settles into The Hound’s Tooth. Ziyal chats up a tavern wench and learns that Alhazared has a room upstairs. He, Akkamas, Braxton, and Abraxas head up to confront him.
Toman sits at the bar, nursing his ale, while Kelwyn transforms into a rat and scurries about the tables listening in on conversations. The druid learns that a mysterious and valuable cargo has been loaded onto the ship at the dock at the command of their patron, a woman, who intends it to be transported to Waterdeep.
Upstairs, Braxton, standing side by side with Akkamas (with Abraxas and Ziyal following), knocks on the door to Alhazared‘s room. The party is stunned when the door opens to reveal Elspeth, Damian Hartfang‘s Lieutenant, then doubly so when it is learned that Hartfang and Alhazared are one and the same.
After a heartened discourse from Ziyal, all parties agree to an uneasy alliance. Abraxas produces the map and it is learned that the woman they had met on the street was deceitful in her translation. They had all been played.
Returning downstairs, the party is reunited, they collect a drunk and passed out Jone from the bar, and upon learning of the “precious cargo” from Kelwyn, head for the docks in time to see the ship pulling away to sea. The unreliable translator gives them a curt wave as Jace ibn Alhazared reveals her identity — Ocasta, called the Mother of Invention.
Abraxas cast an illusion, sending a booming voice to her ear, declaring they would meet again, while Tim sent a message of his own, an arrow that found its mark and drew blood…
And thus ended the session.
What next lies in store for out intrepid adventurers? Check back next week for another resounding recap of the misadventures of this party without a name. They really need a name. Any suggestions?