I have been playing DnD for many years. I started off with Pathfinder when I was younger. As I grew older, I gravitated towards DnD 5e. I have played multiple campaigns within this format. However, this campaign will always stick with me. My close group of friends decided that we would start up another campaign. At this point, we had at least 3 or 4 campaigns under our belts. We are always eager to try out new content. So, when Princess of the Apocalypse came out, we decided to give it a go. With my best friend at the helm has Dungeon Master and the rest of us as player characters, we departed on our grand adventure.
My character was a minotaur paladin from Unearthed Arcana known as Zeeban Bloodhorn. He was a Chaotic Good Paladin who worshiped Hazoret and is considered an acolyte in his tribe. He can emerald green eyes, brown dreadlocks is 6’5, and weighs 250 pounds. The other characters were a Half-Ord Barbarian known as Bolg, a Dwarf Cleric known as Dar Farhak, and a Human Warlock known as Velonica SilverHart. This campaign was a long one, let me tell you. It ultimately ended with Zeeban being level 7, Velonica at level 8, and Dar and Bolg at level 6. How we got there is where this story gets interesting. Why we were all different levels?
Our Dm was using milestone experience after all, so how is this possible. It all started at level 2. We were just a group of green adventures if you catch my drift. We did a couple of minor feats of heroism and decided to accept a quest to explore some ruins where there was a rumor of a haunting. As a group, we departed to these debilitated ruins. With us, we also had an NPC character join in because we were missing a core group member due to work. It was Me as Zeeban, Dar, Bolg, and NPC character whose name I cannot seem to remember. Anyways, we get further into the ruins and we feel a sort of dread come over us. I decided to have Zeeban detect Good/Evil. As soon as I do that, an Aberration appears before us and introduces herself as Serena. Simply Serena.
We get into an intense dialogue and role-playing session where she tells us her backstory of how she was imprisoned in these ruins by a power spellcaster and cannot escape due to magical runes placed within. The only way she can hope to escape is to possess one of us. I immediately refused because Zeeban is a paladin and generally does not like evil things. Our Cleric, on the other hand, had a different agenda. Zeeban thought Dar would decline the offer. But, to his surprise, Dar said yes.
Serena had sweetened the deal by promising untold power to Dar and that as soon as she found another more suitable host she would depart from Dar’s body and possess a new one. Before Zeeban, Bolg, or even NPC could react to this possession, the dead was done. When Serena possessed Dar, she sprinted outside of the ruins and just stood there waiting for us. To our surprise, she was waiting for us. “Well,” she said, “Are you all ready to get me my new body?” We all decided to play along at this point because her powers had returned and knew we could not fight her at our current level. Zeeban was planning on betraying Serena by rounding up a posse to help exercise her spirit from Dar. We then arrive at the town. I tell Serena to stay by the stables and advise Bolg and NPC character to guard her while I pretend to fetch a group of people to take her out. I then sprinted towards the Temple in the town. Once I got there, I was exasperated from running. I then yelled at the top of my longs. “Please help! My friend has been possessed by a powerful spirit; I need aid!” The head of the temple along with a group of 7 others approached me. The head priest who was a female said, “Aye, I have the strength to fulfill your request, but I require compensation.”
“I am afraid I cannot pay what you need. You see I am a new adventurer and do not have a lot of money.” Rolling for persuasion I continue my speech while Zeeban cries. “Please, please help me, are you not servants of the realm? Will you forsake a Paladin in need!” With my +4 modifier, I rolled fairly well. The head priest looked into my eyes after I said this and cast zone of truth and replied, “repeat what you just said.” Zeeban did so. “Okay.” She replied. “Are we not servants of the realm!?” She exclaimed. “Let us not forsake our fellow servant of the realm and assist him with this quest!” “I do warn you that this spirit has immense power, we would need all of your strength to vanquish this threat,” Zeeban replies. She then motions to the 7 that approached me. “I along with these forces should be enough.”
Zeeban and his newly formed posse goes to meet Serena and Bolg and the stables. During this, Serena was able to sense the power of the head priest and tells Bolg she will be waiting at a mountain peak nearby. She then disappears. Almost as if she teleported away. We arrive at the stables and meet up with Bolg who tells us where Serena is. After this, we all rush to the local mountain peak and confront Serena. “Serena!” Zeeban yelled. “Your possession of Dar as reached its end!” “My, my,” said Serena coyly. “It looks like you brought me a fine specimen” Serena was smirking at this point. “What… no…I didn’t.” Zeeban stammered.
Roll for initiative. I had to roll for the 7 posse members, the head priest, and myself. Let us just say the dice Gods were not in my favor. Serena rolled spectacularly with a whopping 19. I, however, rolled an 11 for myself and for everyone else is was a 15 or less. Suffice to say, Serena went first. Turns out, she was even stronger than I thought. She started off by casting a magical bubble around me and Bolg as a legendary action. After that, she cast a 9th level spell called Meteor Swarm. In an instant, everyone was incinerated besides me and Bolg. Combat was officially over because there was nothing me or Bolg could do. After combat, she restored the head priest’s corpse to pristine condition and then raised her back from death. After this, she left Dar’s body to posses the head priest.
“Ah…yes…this I think will do” Serena said with glee. “Well boys, I must be going. It has been fun. Chao” As Serena was about ready to depart, Dar exclaimed, “Wait, what about my power!?” “Oh, yes…you…I almost forgot”. “Due to your generous contribution, I will grant you my boon. However, you must renounce the God you serve and dedicate yourself fully to me. Do you accept these terms Dar?” “Yes, yes I do” Dar replied. She then bestowed her boon onto Dar which amplified his dice rolls for damage spells by an extra dice. He did lose all his healing spells, however.
After the events of this day we all hit level 3 and Zeeban took the Oath of redemption because he felt so guilty about the events of that day. “I swear to you Hazoret, I sweat on my honor and my life that I will make this right.” Fast forward a little bit and we are all level 6. We have been through some tough times. Which I a sure you all can imagine. We did continue to adventure with Dar. Zeeban convinced himself he could convert Dar back into the light, so he stayed with him to make sure he did not do evil deeds. With Dar’s considerable boon he was able to get us through some difficult encounters. As we are adventuring, we all run across a lone carriage in the middle of a foggy forest. “We all decide to approach. An old woman appears and cackles, “Would you care to play a game?” She starts shuffling some unusual looking cards.
Turns out she was shuffling the deck of many things. A bit of context here. At this point in my DnD career, I have never heard of this item and had no clue what it was or what it did. We all agree to play. I do not recall what everyone else got in their games. But, when the old woman asked me how many cards I would like to draw, I replied with, “I would like to draw 7.” I play a of trading card games and usually, the normal hand size is 7 so I thought this was an ok number to draw. Now, remember, I had no idea, no clue what the Deck of Many Things was! I begin to draw. Here are the cards I drew in order:
Star Card Feature: +2 to one ability score.
Gem Card Feature: 25 Gemstones=2,000 GP apiece.
Euarayle Card Feature: -2 on Saving Throws Curse can only be removed by Gods or other Divine Means.
Key Card Feature: DM owes me a magic item
Idiot Car Feature: -3 intelligence
Final Card Draw: Fates Card Feature: It allows the user to avoid or erase 1 event as if it never happened.
As soon as I draw the final card and the card game concludes. Zeeban knew what he had to do. He had to try his hardest to undo the events of the fateful day. If he had just not said yes to that quest, maybe Serena would not have possessed Dar. If he erases that event, he can fulfill his Oath of redemption and be at peace finally. Zeeban then drops to the ground crying and praying to the God Hazoret. He tries his hardest to remember that day and the event of saying yes to quest and asks to have it erased as if it never happened. The card then disappears and that is where the session and the campaign itself ended. The main reason being is that too much of our campaign was influenced by the boon Dar had received. Like I said before, his powers got us out of some sticky situations. So what did you think? Did you enjoy this story of how the paladin was redeemed at the expense of the campaign?