Rant of Valakut: D&D of the Spark – Part 1 Ben Iverach-Brereton December 9, 2019 Rants of Valakut “Gideon riding Rakdos is the sort of thing you propose to your DM, roll a nat 20, and then they sigh and let you do it because they have to.” – Chris VanMeter The Group: Nick – Dungeon Master (Nicol Bolas) Lilly – Liliana Vess, level 19 Human Necromancer Chad – Gideon Jura, level 16 Human Hieromancer Eugene – Ugin the Spirit Dragon, level 20 Dragon Transmuter Former players: Jay – Jace Beleren, Human Illusionist Nadine – Nissa Revane, Elf Druid Dillon – Dack Fayden, Human Rogue Interior. A well-lit basement with a large table in the middle. A map of Ravnica is in the center of the table with dice, books and character sheets around it. Nick is sitting behind a low Dungeon Master’s screen. Sitting across from him are Chad and Eugene. Everyone is waiting to start their game of Dungeons & Dragons. Eugene: Did anybody else say they were coming? Nick: Lilly said she’d be here. Chad: Should we wait, then? Nick: I’d rather have at least three of you here. We’re pretty close to wrapping everything up. Chad: Really? Sweet. Nick: Yeah. This might be the last session of the campaign. Eugene: Because we’re all going to die? Nick: No. I mean, maybe, but probably not? Chad: Don’t worry. I’m basically indestructible at this point, so at least one of us will survive. Eugene: Ha. Ha. There is a knock at the door. Chad: That must be Lilly. Lilly: (From outside) Hello? Nick: It’s open! Come on in! Lilly comes down the stairs and joins everyone at the table. Lilly: Sorry I’m late. Nick: That’s ok. I’m just glad you could make it. It seems like we haven’t seen you in ages. Lilly: Ug! I know, right? Work’s been a nightmare. Eugene: Hey Nick, are you going to tell her what you did to her character, or should I? Lilly: Wait. What? Chad: When were you here last? Lilly: Um… I think we were just about to kill off one of my contract demon guys. Chad: Oh, right…. Eugene: Yeah. Chad: I’m so sorry, Lilly. Lilly: What? What happened to my girl?! Nick: You remember when you left, you said it’d be fine if I used your character as an NPC, right? Lilly: Did you kill my character? Nick: What? No! I would never do that! Eugene: What about Dack? Nick: That’s different. Dillon was never coming back. Chad: It still sucks to kill somebody off when their player isn’t even here. Lilly: What about my character? What did you do? Nick: You successfully killed off Belzenlok, the last of the demons holding your contract. Lilly: Right. I remember. I had to leave, like, right after. Nick: Well, do you remember Nicol Bolas, that dragon I said helped to broker your deal with the demons? Lilly: Uh… kinda. That was a while ago. Nick: We wrote it all down as part of your backstory. Anyway, when Belzenlok died that dragon showed up. It turns out the contract defaults to Bolas when all of the demons die. Lilly: What. Nick: Since you’ve been gone, Liliana Vess has been under Bolas’s control. You’ve been commanding an undead army for him. Lilly: Oh. That’s not so bad, I guess. What else did I miss? Nick: Do either of you guys want to recap things for her? Chad: Uh… sure. So, you remember that whole desert adventure we did? Lilly: The one in Egypt? Nick: It was actually a plane called Amonkhet. Lilly: Right. Yeah, I kinda remember. Didn’t we almost die? Nick: I tried to warn you that those encounters were way too high level for you. Eugene: I think I missed that story. Nick: You did. That was back when Nadine was playing with us. Lilly: Oh, right, Nadine! She was playing that elf, right? Nissa? Nick: Yes. Chad: Well it turns out that the dragon god was making an army of robot zombies to invade the big city world we liked. Nick: The Eternals aren’t robots, they’re made of lazotep. And the city is the plane of Ravnica. Chad: Sure, whatever. So apparently the dragon guy — Nick: Nicol Bolas. Chad: Right, yeah, him. Anyway, he had this big plan all along to summon his army using a Stargate — Nick: It’s called the Planar Bridge. Chad: Sure, the bridge gate thing from that steampunk planet. Nick: It’s from the plane of Kaladesh. Chad: Yeah, Candle-Dish. So we all got news that the dragon guy was planning to invade city-world — Nick: Ravnica. Chad: Yep. Ravinica. So when we get there it turns out it’s this big elaborate trap. He’s got us stuck on Ravinica — Nick: Rav-ni-ca. Chad: Right, that. He trapped us there with some magic rock thing from Jay’s old pirate campaign. Nick: It’s an ancient relic called Immortal Sun, from Ixalan. Chad: Look, you asked me to summarize, so I am. Do you need to keep interrupting me? Nick: I don’t know why I bother to come up with cool names if you guys don’t even use them. Lilly: I like your names. They’re just hard to remember sometimes. Eugene: Besides, do the names really matter that much? Nick: Absolutely! Chad: But why, though? Nick: Well for one thing, anything you guys summon in this campaign has to be called out by name. Chad: Really? I never noticed. Lilly: You don’t really summon much when you’re a fighter. Chad: Yeah, Gideon’s more of a do-it-yourself kind of guy. Eugene: Hey, Nick, what if someone didn’t have a name? Would that mean nobody could summon them? Nick: I mean, I guess technically? It seems like a real corner case. Generally it just means that if you don’t know something’s name you can’t conjure it up. Eugene: That’s actually really cool. Why didn’t you tell us that before? Nick: Didn’t I? Lilly: It doesn’t actually ring a bell. Nick: Oh. Well, yeah. That’s one of the big reasons I try and encourage you to use the names of stuff. Chad: Well ok, then. Where was I? Lilly: Um… Bolas, the dragon guy, was trapping planeswalkers on… uh… Ravnica? And right now my girl is commanding his evil army of… Eternals, right? Nick: You got it. The Immortal Sun got destroyed, but Bolas still has you completely under his power. You have to do what he says or your contract will kill you. Lilly: But wait, I’m still free to make my own decisions and stuff, right? He isn’t, like, hypnotizing me or anything? Nick: No, you’re free to act however you like, but Nicol Bolas was very specific with his instructions. Lilly: Which were…? Nick: He ordered you to kill everyone and harvest their planeswalker sparks. Lilly: Harvest their what-now? Nick: Planeswalker sparks? The piece of your soul that lets you travel between worlds? Lilly: Oh, right. Sorry, it’s just been a while. Nick: That’s fine. Alright, so I think we’re pretty much caught up with the backstory. Things aren’t looking especially good for the Gatewatch — Chad: That’s us. Lilly: I know. Nick: Yes, well, with Liliana Vess leading his undead army, Bolas easily has the upper hand. He’s currently atop his citadel here. (Nick points to a dragon model on the map.) Liliana is commanding lazotep warriors from the plaza down here. (He points to a different model, surrounded by tokens.) Here, Lilly. You’ll probably need the stats for your zombies. Lilly takes a small stack of papers from Nick. Lilly: Uh, thanks. Nick: Ugin, you were way back here working on a plan with some of the other planeswalkers, right? Eugene: Yep. Nick: Chad, where were you? I think I forgot to mark that down. Chad: Gideon was looking for a pegasus. Nick: Oh, right. Eugene: You’re seriously going to try that? It’s such a bad idea! Chad: Nah, it’s going to be great! I’ve got that sweet sword now, so all I need is one good hit. Lilly: Sorry, what plan is this? Eugene: Chad’s going to try and Leeroy Jenkins the final boss. Lilly: I don’t — Chad: I’m just going to fly up to him and stab him with that soulstealer sword we got on Dominaria. Nick: Blackblade. Lilly: Oh, that thing. Cool. Eugene: No, not cool. Suicide. We need a real plan, Chad, not just your lawful stupid charge-head-first-at-the-dragon idea. Chad: It’ll work. One hit is all I need. Nick: Well, Gideon did manage to find a pegasus, but it knows how dangerous this is going to be. I’ll need you to roll an Animal Handling check. Chad: Sure thing. It’s a Boros pegasus, right? Nick: Uh… (Nick rolls.) yes. It looks like it probably belonged to a skyknight legionnaire. Chad: Can I appeal to its sense of honour? Lilly: A pegasus can have a sense of honour? Chad: If it’s a Boros pegasus, yeah. Nick: Alright. What do you say? Chad: Uh, something like “Would you give your life to save this world?” Eugene: That’s it? Chad: It’s the best I’ve got. Nick: Roll your check. Chad: (Chad rolls.) Fifteen. Nick: That’s good enough. The pegasus snorts and spreads wide its mighty wings. Chad: Sweet. Let’s do this! I take off on my trusted pegasus and fly toward Bolas. Eugene: Don’t you mean “trusty” not “trusted”? Or maybe “overly trusting,” given your plan…. Nick: Can I get Liliana to make a Perception check for me? Lilly: Oh, um… (Lilly rolls.) Perception? That’d be a twenty-one. Nick: High up in the air you can make out a white pegasus flying straight for Bolas’s citadel. The rider is carrying a wicked looking black sword. Lilly: That’s Gideon, isn’t it? Nick: Yes it is. Lilly: Alright, well, Bolas would probably kill me if I didn’t try and stop you, so…. Hey, this zombie, is she the cat god from that Amon-place? Nick: Oketra, one of the gods from Amonkhet, yes. Lilly: Wow, ok. Well, sorry, Chad. She’s going to take aim with her massive bow and shoot down the pegasus. Chad: Seriously? Lilly: It’s what my character would do! (Lilly rolls.) Does an eighteen hit? Nick: Yes it does. Roll for damage. Lilly: (Lilly rolls a fistful of dice.) Uh… thirty-six. No, sorry, thirty-eight. Eugene: Ouch! Nick: That’ll do it. Gideon is now plummeting to the ground. Chad: Am I at least close enough to attack Bolas? Nick: No, you’re still really far away. You’re falling down here, over the plaza. (Nick gestures to the map.) Chad: Could I try and land on another flying creature? Nick: Uh… maybe? Rakdos and some angels are currently fighting some flying zombies. It’d be hard to do, though. Chad: Is that THE Rakdos, like the big demon guy in charge of that weird circus cult? Nick: Yes. Chad: Oh man, can I try and land on him, then ride him the rest of the way to the citadel? Nick: I mean, I guess technically you could try, but that’s — Chad: Awesome. I’m going to do that. What kind of check do I make? Nick: Uh… alright. Make an Acrobatics check, I guess. But you need to roll really well for this to — Chad: (Chad rolls excitedly.) YES! NAT TWENTY! Nick: Seriously? (Nick looks across the table at the die and sighs heavily.) Fine. You successfully land on Rakdos. He glares up at you. Chad: Yo, Rakdos, I need you to fly me over to Bolas so I can kill him with my sword. Nick: Make a Persuasion check. Rakdos looks really angry. Chad: Alright. I tell him “If anyone is going to cause chaos on the plane it should be you, not that dragon.” (Chad rolls.) HA! HA! Nick: Its that another twenty? Chad: It totally is. Nick: Ok. Whatever. Rakdos grumbles at you: “No one will ever ride me again, Gideon. Expect no further favours.” Chad: But he doesn’t throw me off? Nick: No he doesn’t. You can ride him across the plaza. Eugene: This is so ridiculous. Chad: Nah, it’s awesome! Let me know when I’m close enough to attack. Nick: Eugene, is there anything Ugin and the other planeswalkers are doing? Eugene: At this point we may as well wait to see if this plan works. Nick: Lilly, did you have anything else you wanted to try? Lilly: Uh… no, I think all of my other zombies are busy, aren’t they? Nick: You’ve got a few on the ground, but your flying eternals are still engaged with angels. Lilly: I guess I’ll move the zombies on the ground closer to the citadel. If Gideon falls I can surround him. Nick: Alright. Looks like you’re up, Chad. Rakdos flies up high and starts to dive bomb Nicol Bolas. You’ll have to jump down to make your attack. Chad: Acrobatics again? Nick: Yes, please. Chad: (Chad rolls. He winces.) …Eight? Nick: Not good. You dive off of Rakdos’s back and plummet toward Bolas. He sees you coming and moves to block your attack. Chad: Do I still get to swing? Nick: I’ll allow it, but you’re going to be at disadvantage for the roll. Chad: Wish me luck. Chad rolls. He groans and drops his head on the table in defeat. He holds up a single index finger. Eugene: Oh man, really? A one? Chad nods, his forehead still on the table. Lilly: Oh no…! Nick: So, Chad, as Gideon leaps through the air, Blackblade in hand, Nicol Bolas looks up at you with contempt. You hear his deep, booming voice mocking you: “The hero with the sword kills the dragon? Not this time.” As you get close enough to strike he swats at you with his claw. (Nick rolls.) Natural twenty. Eugene: You’re kidding. Nick holds up his hands and backs away from the table. Nick: Take a look for yourself. Eugene peeks over the DM screen. Eugene: Dude…. Nick: (Nick rolls a bunch of dice.) Gideon takes eighty-six slashing damage and… (Nick rolls again.) fifty-five falling damage. Also… (Nick rolls one more die.) Blackblade shatters from Bolas’s attack. Chad: I’ll use my reaction to prevent twenty of the slashing damage, I guess. Nick: Is that from your Aegis ability? Chad: Yeah. I guess there isn’t anything I can do about the sword, huh? Nick: Not without reforging it again. The doorbell rings. Nick: Oh, that’s probably the pizza. I’ll be back in a second. Nick gets up and goes upstairs. The players stand up and stretch. Chad steps out to use the bathroom. Lily and Eugene start chatting about work. Well, reader, I think that’s a good place to call it for tonight. We’ll pick things up next time right where we left off. Oh, and don’t worry about your character sheet; you can leave it here if you want. I can keep the room set up, and I’ll make sure the cat doesn’t get in and make a mess. Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName Email Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.