How my party survived a no win scenario

How a group of miscreant adventurer's defeated a nightmarish illusion and became a family in the process.


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I’ve been a DM for about a year now and recently I switched over to using roll20 and playing online with my discord group. 

what originally began as a one shot session on the day our DM couldn’t show up has become a full-blown campaign which to this date we have done six sessions in. 

the party is made up of four players.

Kaji, a tiefling bard

Rhea, an 11 year human old warlock

Tiku, a half elf druid with Deer antlers

And Xull, an orc who loves nothing more than to pick fights and steal things. 

they have been playing for six sessions in Aleris ( Ah-leer-is) 

a world I built-in 5e for one of my previous campaigns.

so far the party has succeeded and survived a number of crazy things but for our last session I wanted to give them a real challenge that went beyond simple combat. 

it went like this…

the four of them were hold up in an abandoned hunting cabin, after having killed an undead abomination and escaping a drow built smuggling tunnel. 

They had been escorting and assisting a man named Malcolm Maze for the better part of three in-game days. he was a changeling spymaster working for the kingdom of Lustra, one of the four great kingdoms of Aleris, on the eastern coast. 

the party was in charge of escorting him back to his home territory and assisting him in securing and containing dangerous magical artifacts that they encountered along the way.

that morning they woke up and got back on the road, making their way to the mist lands, an area dence with a magical fog in the northernmost part of the southern kingdom of Fellwind. 

as they moved East on the Cobblestone road one of the parties pets, a frog belonging to Rhea started moving quickly ahead of them and North off of the road onto an old overgrown path that led to an abandoned homestead.

the party deciding on a hunch to follow the frog to this homestead and there amidst fog colored and unnatural cyan color they found next to the stone foundation of a farmhouse riddled with bulletholes and signs of battle was a large skeleton. 

Malcolm, ever the curious soul, decided to investigate this skeleton and found in its spine what appeared to be a black obsidian growth of some kind. 

immediately the party recognized this growth from there earlier encounters with many undead abominations that plagued this land. in each body there was such a crystal embedded in the spine and within each Crystal was contained a shard imbued with immense magical power. Malcom asked Rhea (the warlock) to do what she did the last time they encountered the hard crystal and she proceeded to hit it with an Eldritch blast.

in a blinding flash of light the crystal and whatever shards may have been hiding inside of it we’re gone, much to visit disappointment of Malcolm. 

the party decided to head back to the road and move further east stopping at a tavern owned by a man named Godfrey Halifax, who at seeing Malcolm walk through his door was more than happy to supply him and any who came with him with room, board and a carriage to take them further east… 

enjoying sleep in a real bed for the first time and what has felt like years the party sleeps comfortably and awakes to find breakfast has been set out for them. Kaji being the first to awake takes the first bite of a platter of eggs set on the nightstand in his room and immediately vomits blood, as the meal had been poisoned. 

rushing to leave his room he then moved to wake his other companions and warn them that their food has been poisoned.  the party now assembled and very shocked, heads down the stairs from the balcony overlooking the foyer down to the foyer and bar proper.. there they see a familiar face, not the awkward odd couple of Malcolm and Godfrey, but a man who had been Hunting the party for the last 5 sessions. a pirate lord named Marcus Leiferts. He was sitting at one of the tables, covered in blood, his feet on the table and smoking a cigar. the moment they show themselves he starts cracking wise and mocking them, his charade ending the moment the teifling realizes he is standing in a puddle of oil. the pirate screams “SICK EM BOYS!” And throws down the cigar lighting himself abalze and illuminating the 8 Hooded archers on the balcony above them on the other side of the foyer. 

within 3 turns of desperate combat the Teifling kaji is dead… And then awake again in his room like before, as if it had never happened.. which it never did. bursting out of their rooms and down the stairs,  the party finds malcom and Godfrey talking about a war they fought in. 

As they talk the door gets kicked down by a band of bounty hunters who target Rhea, thinking her a necromancer. they attempt to kill her for a bounty. in 8 turns of my party literally pulling out all their stops  rhea Takes a crossbow bolt in the ear and instantly dies… And then wakes up in her room like before.. as if it never happened, which it never did.As he panicked party begins to figure out what’s happening them they hear a thumping sound coming up the stairs. They immediately draw their weapons to find… Rhea’s toad. 

Its eyes now purple and speaking clearly in common to Rhea with a voice, male and fanciful, he says  “The Cristal my dear. THE CRISTAL!” The eyes turn back to green and he hops away. at the exact moment kaji deduces they are trapped in an illusion Rhea recognizes this as a message from her patron. they both move to find Malcolm and demand he take out the box he has been locking shards and up to this point..

 as he goes into his bag to find said box, the party hears the front of the building crash and the bloody screams of Godfrey. Malcolm Moves faster to find the box, opens it and instead of a single shard of purple crystal the party finds a Large chunck of cyan quartz Which the warlock utterly obliterates before whatever broke down the front door comes for them. 

In a flash, the party “wakes up” at the destroyed Homestead they found earlier to find a large chunck of cyan Quartz next to the spine of the dead monster… Which Malcolm Pockets and stores in his magical lockbox… after he stops screaming. 

While the rest of the party remembers all three time loops Malcolm only remembers the last one and considering his relationship with GodFrey is more than a little traumatized.  

the party ended up going to the tavern and easily convince Godfrey to drive them to where they need to go with his carriage. after ending the session with a boss fight against a high level Shadow sorcerer they completely destroy, everyone is a mix of shaken and triumphant. 

Without question the craziest thing I’ve ever put my party through. even crazier to me is the fact that my players loved every second of it. Win Win!


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