Rant of Valakut: D&D of the Spark – Part 2 Ben Iverach-Brereton December 23, 2019 Rants of Valakut “No good deed ever goes unpunished.” – Ferengi Rule of Acquisition 285 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 Missed Part 1? Catch up here! 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. There are models arranged on the map representing a combat in progress. Lilly and Eugene are sitting and chatting about work. Nick returns with pizza boxes. Nick: Where did Chad go? Chad calls from the bathroom. Chad: I’ll be back in a minute! Nick: OK, we’ll wait! Chad returns. Chad: Sorry about that. Where were we? Nick: Gideon just plummeted to his death. Chad: But I mean, I’m not actually dead, though, right? Nick: No, you just took a bit of falling damage when your attack missed against Bolas. Oh, and Blackblade shattered. Chad: Blackblade? Nick: Your sword? Chad: Oh yeah. Well, so much for that idea. Eugene: To be fair, it was a long shot. You did a lot better than I expected. Lilly: That was cool. Chad: Did you really have to make that zombie god shoot me? Lilly: I kinda did, yeah. If I don’t help protect Bolas I just die instantly, right? Nick: Not instantly, no, but you start taking a bunch of damage on each of your turns. Lilly: (Lilly looks at her character sheet.) Wait… how much would I take? Nick: Let me look it up. I want to say it’s ten psychic damage per turn, but I’m not sure. Nick starts flipping through his rulebooks. Eugene: What are you thinking, Lilly? Lilly: I don’t know yet. Nick: Here it is. (Nick reads over the rule carefully.) Ok, so it’s actually fifteen psychic damage a turn. Liliana would double that to thirty. Eugene: What? Why does she take double the damage? Lilly: I’m using the Chain Veil, aren’t I? That’s why I would take extra damage. Nick: Of course. You’d need the Veil to command an army this size. Eugene: Oh, right. I forgot about that thing. Chad: Hey, is that effect considered a curse? Nick: The Chain Veil? Chad: No, the damage over time thing. Is it a curse? Nick: I’d be willing to treat it like one, sure. Chad: Oh man. I think I have an idea, guys. Eugene: Is this as good as your last one? Chad: Har. Har. No, listen. If Lilly turns on Bolas she’ll start taking a bunch of damage, right? But I just got this ability last level that lets me suffer the effects of somebody else’s curse instead of them. Lilly: So what, you would take the damage instead of me? Chad: Yeah, basically. Eugene: But then what? Chad: I dunno. We get the army of zombies to attack the dragon? Lilly: It could work. Eugene: Hey, Nick, did my research come up with anything on how to defeat Bolas? Nick: Make an Investigation check. Eugene: Do I get advantage on the roll because Bolas is my brother? Lilly: What?! Eugene: You didn’t know that? Lilly: No! What else did I miss while I was away? Eugene: Yeah, Bolas is my twin; that’s the whole reason I hate him so much. That gem thing he has on his head is actually a piece of my soul. Lilly: I both love and hate that. Nick: Go ahead and roll that Investigation check with advantage, Eugene. Eugene: Thanks. (Eugene rolls.) Eighteen. Nick: What exactly were you wanting to know? Eugene: I’m mostly looking for weaknesses. Something that Bolas might not even realize about himself. Nick: Well, with an eighteen you do come up with a few things. Bolas rules by fear, and he largely dismisses anyone he already has under his control. He also relies a lot on his connection to the Meditation Plane; he’s constantly connected to it through his Soul-Gem. Eugene: Wait. Wait wait wait. Ugin is connected to the Meditation Plane, too, right? And that gem is basically a piece of me, isn’t it? Nick: Yes. Eugene: So can I, like, look through Bolas’s gem and see what he’s doing? Nick: You’d have to cast Scrying, but sure. Eugene: Have I been able to do that this whole time? Nick: Technically, yes. Ugin and Bolas are pretty intertwined. Eugene: Well… nuts. Lilly: Nick, you said these Eternals are trying to harvest planeswalker sparks, right? Nick: I did. Lilly: If I sent them after Bolas could they take his spark away? Nick: Huh. I never though of that but yeah, probably. The weaker Eternals couldn’t, but the gods probably could. Chad: Oh, man. New plan? Lilly: (Lilly grins.) New plan! Eugene: Wait. What? Nick: Alright, what are you guys doing? Lilly: I’m going to command the entire army of Eternals to turn and attack Bolas. Eugene: But… wait. Hang on. Are you sure? Lilly: Yeah. If he doesn’t have that spark-soul-thing then he can’t get away, right? Eugene: Sure, but — Lilly: And then we can crush him with his own zombies. Chad: Besides, Eugene, Ugin isn’t even here for this fight. We can’t just wait for you forever. Eugene: Alright, go ahead. Just… give me a minute. I need to check a couple of things. Eugene starts looking over old campaign notes. Nick: Well, while Ugin finishes his reasearch, Liliana turns to face Bolas with grim determination in her face. With a twist of her wrist she commands the Eternals to charge the Citadel. As soon as you turn his army against him, Bolas glares down at you. His eyes flare with dark magic. I’m going to need Liliana to make a Constitution saving throw. Lilly: (Lilly rolls.) Oh, ok. Not bad. Fifteen? Nick: That’s just enough. You feel a searing pain from your demonic scars as they burst into flames. Screaming in defiance and agony, you take fifteen psychic damage. Because of the Chain Veil that’s actually doubled to thirty. You do however maintain your concentration, and stay in control of the Dreadhorde. Lilly: Alright. I can’t keep this up for very long. You guys had better do something quick. Eugene: (Eugene looks up from his notes.) Would I have seen all of this happen through the Soul-Gem? Nick: Did you cast Scrying? Eugene: I mean, I was going to earlier. Nick: Eh, that’s alright. For narrative purposes it’s better if you all know what’s happening. I’ll allow it. Eugene: Thanks. Ok, so when I see Liliana turn on Bolas I’m going to make my way to the citadel. Nick: It’ll take you a couple of turns to get there. What about Gideon? What’s he doing, Chad? Chad: I’m going to move next to Liliana. How many rounds can you keep taking damage? Lilly: Like, two rounds if I don’t get hit with anything else. Chad: Alright. I’m going to put my hand on Liliana’s shoulder and use my Self-Sacrifice class ability. Now I’ll suffer the effects of her curse instead. Nick: Sounds good. On Bolas’s turn he swipes at the Eternals next to him. (Nick rolls.) From the plaza you can see five Lazotep warriors tumble from the citadel and shatter on the ground below. Ugin, you make it about halfway to the plaza. You should arrive in front of the citadel next turn. Lilly: Is it my turn next? Nick: Yes. At the start of your turn Gideon takes fifteen psychic damage. Chad: I’ll use my Aegis ability to prevent it and take no damage. Nick: Aegis only works on physical damage, Chad. This is psychic. Chad: What. Nick: It’s in your rulebook. Aegis has no effect on psychic damage. Remember we went over this when you guys were fighting on Amonkhet? Chad: You can’t expect me to remember something from nearly two years ago! Nick: You’ve been using Aegis this whole time, Chad. You need know how your abilities work. It’s not my responsibility to keep reminding you. Chad: Seriously, though. If I can’t prevent the damage I’m going to die. Nick: Look at it this way: if you didn’t use your Self-Sacrifice ability then Liliana would probably die instead. Lilly: It’s true. I was definitely going to die. Chad: Well… this sucks. Fine. I take the damage. I’m unconscious. Lilly: What? Already? Chad: I was pretty hurt from fighting those zombies, and I used my Second Wind already. After all that falling damage I was really low. Lilly: I’m so sorry! Chad: Just make sure you kill this guy. Nick: Well, Liliana, Gideon collapses beside you, his skin still smoldering from the curse that should have been yours. It’s still your turn. What did you want to do? Lilly: Well, I guess I’ll move these god-zombies to flank Bolas, and I’ll whisper to them something like “You are the gods. He is the usurper. You know what to do.” Eugene: Nice. Chad: Yeah, that’s really cool. Nick: Ok. The God Eternals had to Dash to get to Bolas, so they can’t attack until next round, but when they do they’ll have advantage. Lilly: Ok. Nick: Gideon, you’re up. Please roll a Death Save. Chad: Right. Here goes. (Chad rolls and winces.) Four. Nick: That’s a failure. Gideon’s form continues to burn like a glowing ember. You begin to feel the pull of the Theros underworld as death beckons. Chad: Thera-what-now? Nick: …The underworld of Theros? Your home plane? Chad: Uh… Nick: (Nick sighs.) The Greek place. Chad: Oh, right! Nick: Anyway, that puts us to Bolas’s turn. Eugene: Did you skip me? Nick: No, I have you going just after Bolas. Eugene: Oh, sorry. Nick: No worries. Alright, so Bolas sees what you’re trying to do and Disengages. He flies straight up. Lilly: Do my zombies get an attack of opportunity? Nick: No, he used the Disengage action. Lilly: Oh, ok. Nick: So Bolas flies up — Lilly: Are you sure, though? Nick: Yeah, that’s how Disengage works. Lilly: It’s just that there’s a note on the Oketra and Bontu sheets you gave me that says something about making special attacks of opportunity. Chad: Here, let me see. (Chad reads the character sheets.) You gave them both the Sentinel ability. Nick: Did I? I totally forgot about that. Lilly: So I get to attack? Nick: Yes you do. As Bolas goes to Disengage, both Bontu and Oketra get to make attacks of opportunity. Lilly: (Lilly rolls.) Bontu got a twenty, and Oketra got a twenty-six. Nick: Oketra hits. Bolas’s movement speed is also reduced to zero. As he tries to make his escape the giant lazotep god grabs a hold of him and he crashes back down on the citadel. Roll for damage. Lilly: Ok, that’s… wait, how many dice is that? Chad: Can I see again? (Chad looks at the character sheets.) Seriously, Nick? Nick: It’s a high level encounter. They’re supposed to be dangerous. Eugene pulls the sheets across the table to read it. Eugene: Chad’s right. Even for our level that’s brutal. Nick: Yeah, well look at what you guys did to my Eldrazi. I need to ramp things up or it’s just too easy for you. Chad: Fair point. Eugene: We got lucky in that combat. Seriously, that plan against the Eldrazi shouldn’t have worked. And besides, I still think killing them was a mistake. Chad: What did you want us to do, just let Adventure Planet get eaten? Nick: It’s called Zendikar. And can we get back to the game? Eugene: Sorry. Chad: K. (Chad glares over at Eugene.) Nick: Right, so, how much damage did Oketra deal to Bolas, Lilly? Lilly rolls a large handful of dice and takes a moment to add everything up. Lilly: Everything together comes out to… (Lilly double-checks her math.) fourty-six piercing damage and twenty psychic damage. Nick: Ouch. Alright. Bolas is going to use one of his Legendary Resistances to maintain his concentration. Chad: Concentration? On what? Lilly: Ooo, he must have to maintain the Contract like a spell! Nick smiles knowingly. Nick: Alright, Ugin is up next. Eugene: I keep flying to the citadel. Nick: Your move takes you right over top of it. Eugene: Can I ready an action to swoop down and grab Bolas if he’s knocked out? Nick: Sure thing. Anything else for you? Eugene: No, I’m good. Chad: What are you up to, Eugene? Eugene: I have an idea. Chad: Care to enlighten us, O great Spirit Dragon? Eugene: If I tell you, you’ll just find a way to screw it up. Chad: Hey! Eugene: Your track record isn’t exactly stellar, Chad. I mean, your stab-the-dragon plan failed, and now you’re about to die because you don’t know how your own abilities work. Chad: At least I’ve been trying to help the group! Eugene: And what, you don’t think I am? Chad: It’s hard to say, since you never tell us anything! Lilly: Guys, can we not do this right now? Nick: Yeah, guys. Chad: Well it’s true! Eugene doesn’t contribute. He just tells the rest of us that we’re doing things wrong. It’s never, “Here’s my idea,” just “Your plan won’t work.” Lilly: Chad, you should calm down. Chad: He could be doing something instead of just waiting there! Like, if you attacked Bolas right now you might finish him off, or get him to break concentration. Instead you’re just going to float there and let me die. Eugene: One attack won’t make a difference, Chad. Chad: It might to me! I’m the one rolling Death Saves, here! Eugene: You think the Big Bad for this entire story arc would only have one Legendary Resistance? Look, when Lilly’s turn comes back up she’s going to deal a massive amount of damage to him. She might even knock him out. Chad: So? Eugene: So, if you’ve been paying any attention this whole campaign you’ll know that being dead isn’t enough to stop someone like Bolas. He’ll just have some minion resurrect him. Lilly: Necromancy is totally a thing in this setting. I can confirm. Chad: What’s your point? Eugene: I have an idea to stop him once and for all, but to do that I need to hold my action for when he goes down. Chad: Fine. Whatever. Eugene: Look, I don’t want to see your character die either, but let’s face it: Gideon would be willing to sacrifice himself to save the world, right? And Ugin is the kind of character who’d do basically anything to make his plans work. We’re all just doing what our characters would do. Chad: I guess you’ve got a point…. Nick: Are we good? Chad: Yeah. Sorry I got so worked up. Eugene: Hey, I get it. When your character’s about to die it’s stressful, especially when you’ve been playing him for this long. Nick: Well, I think we’re going to move on, now. If that’s alright. (Everyone nods.) Right, so Ugin is holding his action. Lilly, you’re up. Gideon takes another fifteen psychic damage. That counts as a second failed death save. Gideon: Oof. Lilly: Right. Ok, so I glare over at Bolas and command the gods to rip his soul out. Nick: You mean his planeswalker spark? Lilly: Yeah, that one. Nick: Alright, go ahead and make your attacks. Lilly: (Lilly rolls.) Oketra rolled a twenty-eight. Nick: That hits. Lilly: (Lilly rolls again and points down at her dice matter-of-factly.) And THAT is a natural twenty for Bontu. Nick: No kidding! Alright, let me know how much damage that is. Lilly: Can I borrow some dice? Nick: How many so you need? Lilly: Like, nearly thirty for the crit. Nick: Oh, right. Just a sec, I think I have a bunch of extra dice with my Commander decks. (Nick rummages on the shelves behind him.) Here you go, that should do it. Chad: Why do you need so many dice, Nick? Nick: Animar. Chad: Yeah, ok. That makes sense. Lilly starts rolling her dice in batches. Lilly: My hands are too small! Eugene: No, that’s just way too many dice. Lilly: Right, so that’s twenty… fourty…. (Lilly carefully organizes her rolls.) It’s fifty-seven slashing damage, and another sixty-two psychic. He needs to make a Constitution saving throw, too, or he loses his spark. Nick: He’s going to use his second Legendary Resistance to pass his saving throw. Eugene: Which one? He also needs to make one to maintain his concentration on the curse. Nick: He has enough resistances for both. Eugene: Ok. Lilly: Alright, and I guess that just leaves Oketra’s damage. (Lilly gathers up her dice and rolls.) That’s actually pretty low. Only twenty-one piercing damage, and nineteen psychic damage. Nick: Right. Lilly: And one more Constitution saving throw. Eugene: Two. Nick: Oh. Right. (Nick rolls.) Eugene: Wait. Chad: You mean… Lilly: Is he out of Legendary Resistances already? Nick: I didn’t think he’d need to make this many saves all at once. He did manage to pass both saves this time, though. He’s looking rough. Chad: I know that feeling. Nick: Speaking of which, Gideon needs to make another Death Save. Lilly: Oh, Chad…. Chad: It’s alright. I could still stabilize. Eugene: What about the — Chad: Look, we’re not going to talk about it, ok? (Chad rolls nervously.) Hey, that roll doesn’t count, does it? Nick: It’s fine. It’s sitting flat on the table. What did you roll? Chad: Are you sure, though? It bumped that model. Nick: What was the roll? Chad: …It’s a one. Lilly: I’m really sorry, Chad. Eugene: Yeah, Chad. I’m sorry. Nick: Chad, do you have any last words for Gideon? Chad: Uh, yeah. Um…. With my dying breath I look up at Liliana and whisper to her, “You were worth saving.” Lilly sheds a tear. Nick: As he lets out his last breath, Gideon’s body is consumed by flames. Liliana, you stare down at the pile of ash, and while you feel the weight of your curse finally lifted, it is replaced by a deep, sinking feeling in your heart. The table sits in Silence for a moment. Nick: A cry from the citadel draws your attention back to the battle at hand. Bolas is looking around with a wild look in his eyes, like a trapped animal. He takes a swipe at the god-eternals. (Nick rolls.) But he misses. Ugin is up. Ugin: I continue to hold my action. Gideon died for this. I’m going to make sure it was worth it. Nick: Ok. What does Liliana do? Lilly: I… uh… Chad, that was really touching. Chad: Thanks. It just kinda came to me. Nick: Lilly? Lilly: Sorry, um. I turn to face Bolas with tears of hatred in my eyes. I command Oketra and Bontu to rip out his spark again. Nick: Roll for it. Lilly: (Lilly rolls.) Bontu misses, but Oketra definitely hits. Bolas takes… (Lilly rolls again.) thirty piercing damage, and another twenty-one psychic damage. Nick: He also needs to make another Constitution saving throw… (Nick rolls.) Which he finally fails. Bolas let’s out a cry of agony, as Oketra and the other god-eternals rip into his soul. Mana pours out of the Dragon’s golden hide, like blood from a wound as his spark is torn from him. Eugene: Can I take my action now? Nick: Yes, upon seeing his brother’s spark harvested, Ugin dives down. What do you want to do? Eugene: Bolas is still connected to the Meditation Plane, right? Nick: Yes…. Eugene: So, if I planeswalk there, could I take Bolas with me? Lilly: Wait, you’re not going to let me kill him? Eugene: I told you, I’ve got a plan. (Eugene turns back to Nick.) Well? Nick: You can’t normally take living matter through the Blind Eternities — (Chad opens his mouth to voice his confusion.) — through the space between the planes. Eugene: But Bolas and Ugin have a unique bond, right? We share a piece of our soul. Couldn’t I shield him somehow? Nick: Hm…. Alright, I’ll let you try. But only because he’s your brother, and only because he’s still linked to the Meditation Plane. If you were trying to go anywhere else, this would automatically fail. Eugene: What do I have to roll? Nick: Let me just take a look at my notes. (Nick rummages through the papers in front of him.) I’ll admit I didn’t plan for this. Chad: So what is this plan of yours, Eugene? Eugene: Hang on. You’ll see in a minute. Nick: Ok, make an Athletics check to pull Bolas with you. You’ll also need to make a Constitution saving throw to keep him shielded. If you can roll well enough you’ll both make it to the Meditation Plane safely. Eugene: Alright. (Eugene rolls.) Athletics is a twenty-one, and (He rolls again.) The Constitution save is a twenty-six. Nick: Yeah, that’ll do it. You wrap your wings around Bolas and throw yourself through the swirling chaos. You can feel Bolas pulling away from you, but you tighten your grip and concentrate on the piece of his soul within you. In what feels like an eternal heartbeat you land in the familiar pools of the Meditation Plane. Eugene: Is Bolas conscious? Nick: No, he fell unconscious on the way here. Eugene: Good. I’m going to take the Soul Gem from him and get ready to cast Wish. Chad: You could cast Wish this whole time?! Eugene: I’ve been planning something like this for a while. Chad: Yeah, but… You could have just ended this whole thing. Eugene: I don’t think you appreciate just how many Counterspells I’d have to get through to do that. Chad: Oh. Right. Nick: How are you using Wish? Eugene: I had something else in mind at first, but I think I’m just going to erase Bolas’ name from existence. Lilly: You… what? Eugene: Without a spark, Bolas can’t ever leave the Meditation Plane on his own, but somebody could still summon him, right? According to Nick, they can’t do that if he doesn’t have a name. Lilly: (Lilly’s eyes light up in understanding.) Because you can only summon things that you can name! Eugene, that’s awesome! Chad: That’s actually super-clever, man. Nick: I have to admit, that’s a really creative solution. Eugene: Once I’ve stripped him of his name I’m going to change into my pure spirit form. This way I can stay and watch over him, and keep anyone else from planeswalking to the Meditation Plane. Lilly: I guess it’s more like a Prison Realm now, eh? The players share a laugh. Nick: The nameless dragon awakens some time later. He looks around, slightly confused. This place is familiar, and he knows who he is, but there’s something missing. He’s… he is… nothing. He knows he has done great things, that he is a fierce planeswalker, but his name eludes him. He reaches within himself to planeswalk away, and finds a hole. Stillness where a spark once was. The realization of what has happened slowly dawns on him, and he howls in frustration. Ugin’s presence scratches at the back of his mind. You sense his awareness of you. Eugene: I whisper in his head, “Hello, brother. I’ll be watching you.” Chad: Serves him right for killing me. Nick: (Nick checks his watch.) Oh, wow. I think that’ll have to be a good place to call it, gang. Lilly: What about the rest of us? Nick: Well, with the threat of Bolas now gone, that’s up to you. Gideon’s spirit travels back to his home plane of Theros, where he is reunited with the souls of his fallen friends, while Lilliana still stands commanding the Dreadhorde on Ravnica. Lilly: I’m going to make the Eternals stand down, then planeswalk away. I don’t think I could face anyone else after what Bolas made me do. Nick: Alright. We can pick up that storyline next time, if you’re free. Lilly: Definitely. Nick: Chad, Eugene, you two should roll up some new characters. If you want some ideas, I have plenty of NPCs I think you might like. Chad: Sure thing, although I did have this idea for a new character. He’s a fey shapeshifter named Oko; I think you’ll really like him…. The session ends as the players gather up their books and make their way upstairs. Nick takes one last look at the table behind him and shuts off the light. Thanks for sitting in on the session tonight; I hope you had fun! You know you’re welcome back anytime. Of course, I’d understand if you’d rather try running a campaign of your own; I have a few notes here for you if you need some inspiration. Anyway, I should let you go. I’ve got some cleaning up I need to do downstairs; my rulebooks are still everywhere. 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.