Virgin DM Monologues: Danger at the Arcane Academy

Welcome to the recap of the sixth session of my Eberron campaign, which took place on Tuesday, December 15, 2009.

Our adventurers recently ventured into Sharn’s underbelly to rescue the last of the kidnapping victims. For this adventure, I modified Danger at White Lotus Academy by Peter Schaefer. This session covers the first half of that adventure module.

The adventurers were sent on assignment to investigate some strange goings-on at the Arcane Academy, part of the Esoteric Order of Aureon.  These are the upstanding, lawful wizards. The school has a very good reputation as being the place to send young people in Sharn to be trained in the arcane arts.

But there have been problems lately – students are disappearing without a trace. The party is met at the gate by Professor Tevors, who brings them on a short tour of the campus. They swing into the headmaster’s office and find him asleep on his desk. When he wakes up, drool running down his face, he yells at them to get out.

Tevors has to run to an appointment, but tells the party to go check out a student duel happening in the quad.  Young wizards are dueling each other, but then, there’s a stirring and the practice mannequins came alive and started attacking the adventurers and students!

The students attempt to defend themselves, but they are young and the most they can do is shoot some ineffective sparks.

“You get sparkles in my eye and I’m coming for you next!”

- Beatdown Machine

Our bard has been having fun with Misdirected Mark, but managed to get everything marked to the warden, who was surrounded by evil mannequins.  This turned out to be super fun for me since the mannequins had a power that let them knock people prone when they had combat advantage. Mwah ha ha!

“I must get… up. Somebody’s dead? Great!”

- Brick the warden

Just as the fight with the mannequins ends, Tevors and another professor run up huffing and puffing. He’s amazed that the mannequins went crazy like that – they’d been perfectly fine for hundreds of years! He asks the PCs to go to the library to find the book with the ritual for enchanting the mannequins. He can’t send a student since the book is in one of the more dangerous parts of the stacks. Handing the adventurers a special stone that will get warm as they get closer to the book, he points the way to the library.

They’re searching for Holman’s Treatise on the Imbuement and Maintenance of Armed Conflict Training Mannequins, but the adventurers have decided to name it: Mannequins for Dummies.

The stone leads them deep into the library, down stairs, up stairs, down long hallways, around, up stairs, down stairs. The stone starts to get really warm as they go down a final set of stairs and into a room full of bookshelves and desks. The door slams shut and locks and the lights start to flicker.

Poltergeists appear and start to attack the party, phasing in and out of the shelves and generally being annoying. The best part of this adventure module for me was running the ghosts and getting to throw the PCs all around the map and then just phase out of the way. So totally fun.

Beatdown tried to corner a ghostie who phased into a room. Ghostie used his interrupt, crit!!, and flung him across the room, knocking him prone. It sounded like.. “RARRRR GONNA GET YOU….!!” *CLUNK!* “Ow.”

When the last ghostie died, its body exploded and left behind a thin book. Opening the book, the party finds it’s full of bright light and they can’t read anything in it. It’s obviously imbued with some sort of magic that they don’t understand yet.

Mannequins for Dummies is still somewhere in the room and the party is still locked inside the library, so a skill challenge ensued for the PCs to find the book, unlock the door, and find their way out of the library.

But of course, this was no ordinary library. It had spirits that were messing with the PCs, getting them lost in corridors and spun around.

Eru the bard came to the rescue with his silver tongue.

I use my Words of Friendship power and think, “O Great and Powerful library, we love your musty smell. Please let us out!

He ended up with a 30 on his Diplomacy check, which we now describe as “diploming the heck out of” the library.  The library allowed them to leave with the book and they went off to meet Professor Tevors at the Arboretum.

But that’s a story for next week…
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Since 2008, E. Foley of Geek’s Dream Girl has been helping geeks from around the world find love. She writes amazing online dating profiles for her fellow geeks and guides them through the perilous waters of the dating scene and out the other side. She's totally proud to report that she's even caused a couple geek weddings! She lives in Maryland with DaveTheGame, her adorable cats, Mr. Peanut & Don Juan, and Titania, Queen of the Cocker Spaniels. (Email e, or follow @geeksdreamgirl on Twitter.)

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