Caught in Galen Lessons: Session 20

My players continue to challenge me every week during Caught in Galen. It’s my current D&D campaign and favorite module I’ve created thus far in my career as a Dungeon Master. Will it continue to be this exciting and informative? I truly hope so. Session 20 was action-packed and rapidly evolved the campaign’s narrative. Let’s catch up and glimpse at what I learned during this session. Of course, these lessons should be applicable to your own game as well. We all learn from each other!

Session 20: To Tairox Landing

Previously in Caught in Galen, the party decided to follow Strunt through the narrow kobold tunnels that led toward Tairox Landing. Imprisoned allies awaited them there, alongside the mysterious Vaxilidan and a sizable chunk of the Verdant Skull. They were undeterred.

Today, I’m trying a different approach to recapping the session. These were its events:

  • The companions crawled through tight kobold tunnels and nearly fell into a huge fissure.
  • They scaled the fissure and found a forgotten and flooded dragonborn tomb.
  • They solved a puzzle that opened up new passageways in the tomb.
  • Inside they met a kobold mastermind named Vess, an ally of the Verdant Skull.
  • They decided to work together briefly in an attempt to loot the crypt and fight off the kuo-toa who laired in it.
  • Following Vess, they navigated the flooded passages and discovered a wispy portal through a secret door.
  • Bravely, they leaped inside the portal and discovered it led to Dal Quor.
  • In the Plane of Dreams, they once again met with the supposedly assassinated Calastis Starcloak.
  • The human archmage warned them of imminent destruction and their need for swiftness. He hinted at time skips, disaster in Tairox Landing, and the fate of Galen being in their hands.
  • The dream collapsed around the party as aberrations tore into this region of the Plane of Dreams. Jason managed to glimpse Loogodramin through his byeshk orb. The massive slaadi seemed to loom over something mysterious.
  • They managed to escape the dream and discover the mortal world again. Vess was gone.
  • Understanding they needed to be quick, they moved back to the crypt’s entrance to leave it behind.
  • Upon emerging from the water, they were surrounded by kuo-toa, dead kobolds on the ground.
  • An animated statue of Bahamut and an animated statue of Tiamat bursted through one of the crypt’s doors.
The session ended there. Would the party ally with the kuo-toa? How were the statues animated? Where did Vess go? How long did they have before all of Galen suffered? Well, session 21 answered a few of those questions. But before we dive into that one, let me explain why I thoroughly enjoyed this session.

Dal Quor, the Plane of Dreams, has been integral to Caught in Galen since the beginning. In one of the prologue sessions, three of the PCs were even able to visit it! Since then, there’s only been hints at it—glimpses of it. Finally, they were able to enter this fantastical dreamscape again.

In a realm where dreams are reality, anything is possible.

Giving access to a place such as Dal Quor early on in the campaign has provided me with plenty of opportunities for foreshadowing. I’ve hinted at the primary antagonist of the campaign, minor backstory plots, random nothing burgers, and key details for the current narrative. My players haven’t caught all of it, but they’ve caught some. When they do, they’re giddy. I am too.

I’m glad I decided to give Dal Quor such a huge part in the campaign early on. I suggest we all try out wild strategies like this. It doesn’t matter if our parties are level two, fling them into the Plane of Fire! So what if the group just hit level four? Time for a visit to Avernus. Exploring realms like these at such a low level provides a memorable experience for us all. Isn’t that what we all yearn for from D&D?

We have a long way to go to catch up to Caught in Galen: next week is session 36! I’ll see you all soon, when we discuss the fallout out the party’s exploration of the draconic crypt.

Until the next encounter, farewell!

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