Posted by : David Guyll September 01, 2014

The most memorable campaign I ever ran was A Sundered World, which was also my last full-on 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons campaign (though, I'd like to change that). Overall I'd say that the campaign had a lot of high points, but I managed to whittle them down to two choices. I'll let you be the judge.

The first encounter would be when the party actually fought Autocthon (what I have since renamed as Antikythera). The players had traveled to Moradin's Forge looking for a weapon to use against the fomorians on the Feywild, and ideally something that would help them fight off the clockwork horrors that were starting to pop up everywhere. 

Since their ship couldn't fly inside the dominion, they ended up climbing it on foot, dodged a dragon, and found both the Axe of the Dwarven Lords and something that I based on a slaughterstone behemoth from 3rd Edition: it basically had a cube form that it used when recharging it's internal battery, but could unfold into a quadruped, stone statue thing capable of ferrying the party around.

Everything was going fine until they tried to leave, which was when they saw Autocthon enter the dominion and begin floating towards the mountain. Once it noticed them, it started barfing out swarms of clockwork horrors. They tried to fight them off and escape but were quickly surrounded; before Autocthon could crush them the dragon showed up, blasted it with it's lightning breath, snatched up the characters, and flew away to the other side of the mountain to buy them some time.

They talked to the dragon until Autocthon vaporized the top part of the mountain with energy cannons built into its arms, after which the dragon threw them into it's mouth so that they could destroy it from inside while it went dragon-e-primordial. After all, it worked for the Autobots in the Transformers movie with Unicron (which was also noteworthy for having no product placement, dick jokes, or Shia LaBeouf).

Inside they ended up fighting off a bunch of clockwork horrors as they painstakingly make their way to what they assumed was it's heart, a process made more difficult by the fact that the dragon kept knocking Autocthon around, which meant that they and the horrors they were fighting were also getting thrown about. Eventually they destroyed the power core, leaped out of it's mouth, crashed in the ocean hundreds of feet below, and fought off what was left of Autocthon's upper half the next day when it crawled to shore.

As for the second encounter, this one was entirely about inadvertently perfectly timed character dialogue, as opposed to a highly dynamic fight-scape.

The party arriveed at Horizon, because the warlord claimed to know a guy that could help out in the fight against the clockwork horrors. When they got there they discovered that floating, eye-like spheres and clockwork horrors were already laying waste to the city. They helped out until a floating cathedral warped in via Angel Gate and destroyed them all, and then took the fight to the city streets to clean up the stragglers. Once the dust was more or less settled the shaman realized that he could feel a fragment of the World Serpent's spirit form nearby, and dashed off to look for it.

He entered a building, but when he tried to head underground was stopped by an angel. The angel apparently knew the warlord from before (do illegal things along the Golden Road, you're gonna run into angels at some point), and as they argued and eventually got into a fist fight the shaman slipped by. He ran through labyrinthine passages until he found a door covered in seals and wards. The angel couldn't find him because A) labyrinthine passages and B) the shaman was drawn to a specific place by the fragment.

This also gave the shaman ample time to open himself up to the spirit world so that he could communicate with the fragment. While the angel is continued to search for him, the warlord asked him what the place was for. The angel explained that it was used to contain evil artifacts deemed to dangerous to destroy. The warlord then angrily accused him (and other angels) of thinking they "always know what's best or right", and just how he "knows it's evil".

Now, over the course of the campaign the shaman had gathered up various "pieces" of the World Serpent, and I decided to give them personalities: he'd already found one that was wise and benevolent, as well as one that was a stalwart warrior. This one I figured would be all about destructive fury (and corrupted, either from nearby evil artifacts, or maybe aberrant forces), so unlike the other ones he'd have to actually fight it.

Knowing this, I had the angel just look at him and ask, "How do you know it's not?"

I then cut back to the shaman in the spirit world, with the World Serpent appearing as an oily black, serpent-like creature with horns and glowing red eyes. It thanked the shaman for bringing the other fragments, and explained that once it is whole it will be free to devour the rest of creation. Aaand that's where I stopped the session, figuring that I'd let them stew on that until the next week.

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