WMD's D&D Campaign: Strixhaven University

WMD

Railgun
I hope people don’t mind me sharing this here but I'm thinking of keeping a record of a new campaign my group started last night. It's been a while since I DMed and it's my first time in this specific group. The campaign is Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos and is essentially D&D Harry Potter whereby the characters are new students at a magic university and the campaign follows their 4 years of study there and the adventures they have along the way.

Another thing I've decided to do is send them chalkboards with lessons on as I'm not actually going to give them lectures but I think this will help immerse them in the world. I made them as a text box in word with a font that looks like handwriting. I think they came out pretty good. I sent a few to them prior to the first session with some background information as I figured they'd know a bit about the university they were going to attend.

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WMD

Railgun
Session 1

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So the new students arrive at Strixhaven for the start of their new academic life. The group consists of:
  • Archemedes Doomroost (Owlin Rogue)
  • Pythagoras 'Py' Tinker-Topper (Rock Gome Artificer)
  • Kaylah Rai (Half-elf Monk)
  • Timmy Timbers (Rock Gnome Wizard)
  • Ophelia Rubix (Tiefling Sorcerer)
  • Elleva Ferngrove (Wood Elf Druid)
They live together in a dorm house on Central Campus and a day or 2 after moving in and settling down head off to the grand Biblioplex (the very centre of the university) for new student orientation. Elleva is kinda goth and puts on airs of apathy and she hangs around in the lobby not doing much. Py finds a bunch of coffee tables covered in leaflets and rumages through them finding job adverts- he particularly likes the sound of one at the Science Labs where he might he able to further his family research. Kaylah goes into a cafe by the entrance and stares in wonder at the artistic beauty of the living tree walls. Achemedes also goes into the cafe and swipes a sandwich without paying (cheeky bugger). Timmy gets hassled by Kaylah to buy her a coffee and Ophelia waxes lyrical about a fancy geometric pot she has to staff at the Biblioplex.

Eventually they get their act together and head down to the Hall of Oracles for Orientation whereby they are given a fun scavenger hunt to complete in the Biblioplex and get to know the place as it will be a key location for their learning in the years to come. The first clue "You'll forget all about any trouble or plight when you step forward and are ensnarled in light" gets them to touch the snarl (a glowing mass or pure energy) at the centre of the room and they each win a healing potion!

They head back to the cafe to solve "Each group deserves a free treat for their investment. Serve up this list and enjoy your refreshment." Archemedes takes the opportunity to swipe some extra treats.

After that they meet the LARP Guild preping for a demonstration and recruiting members for their club and then head to one of the indoor gardens for the next clue "These leafy beds aren't always what they seem. Give them a pat and see that they glean." They each win a cuddly college mascot plushie representing the college they each want to join in their second year. They also meet a member of the Fantastical Horticulture Club and learn a bit about it.

Next they stumble into the art gallery and realise it pertains to clue "Alumni commission works when they retire, seeking promising mages to inspire." After a bit of faffing they find the right painting and each gain a Strixhaven Pennent corresponding to their colleges and Kaylah works out they magically give of sparkly light when waved about which her artistic nature is very into. They also meet a member of the Distinguished Society of Fine Art recruiting for their club and Kaylah has a great time while the more academic members of the group roll their eyes at her.

That closes our session 1 and next time we will continue with 1 more clue to solve!
 
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WMD

Railgun
Session 2

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So our team are still at orientation and continuing with the scavenger hunt. Just one more clue to solve "Some stars are ancient, enduring, and bright. But others-maybe you!-are born on opening night." They get it into their heads this means literal stars are ask around about an astonomy tower/observation area but as its a library there isn't one.

Py sees the Cogwork Archivists busy around the shelves stacking books and the like and his nerdy mechanical nature is enamoured and he stops to sketch them and interact with the automatons. Meanwhile the others work out the clue may mean some kind of performance and soon find the large stage where they meet overly dramatic and slightly pompous Quentillius trying to gain new members to the Playactors Drama Guild. The artsy Kaylah gets on with him while the others aren't too impressed and she works out to do a performance in the stage. After some interpretive dance a spotlight shines down on her and after some figuring out realise its a lantern she's won as a prize. The others don't feel like performing is their jam so let this one slide.

After meeting up the discover the student activities centre and learn about all the other club options at Strixhaven and head into the Student Council Office where Py leaves an application for a new club: the Mechanical Appreciation Society. They then try to break into a locked area but fail as an Arcane Lock spell is in effect.

Soon the atmosphere is ruined as a supplies trunk of the LARPers has come to life and is attacking people! Our group jump into action and take it down but not before Elleva is reduced to 0hp. Afterwards a staff member helps the team back to their feet and the trunk has some black oily substance on it but all magical traces are gone.

The rest of the session was the group deciding on their courses, clubs and possible part time jobs for the upcoming academic year.
 

Eternal chibi

Kiznaiver
I can see you have put a lot of effort in this and I really like that you chose Harry Potter influence but have not just ripped it off entirely and have mixed it with the world of D&D really well, your group is lucky to have a dedicated DM.
 

WMD

Railgun
I can see you have put a lot of effort in this and I really like that you chose Harry Potter influence but have not just ripped it off entirely and have mixed it with the world of D&D really well, your group is lucky to have a dedicated DM.
Its actually from a new book they've released. That gives the basics for the campaign. But it gives a lot of room for the dm to flesh out the world. As they make friends and rivals I'm going to have a lot of fun. And come up with loads of side stories
 

WMD

Railgun
Session 3

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Here's a run down of the clubs/jobs they've picked:

Kaylah: Mage Tower Cheer Squad, Distinguished Society of Fine Artists
Archemedes: Fantastical Horticulture Club, Future Entrepreneurs of Strixhaven
Timmy: Dragonsguard Historical Society, Fantastical Horticulture Club
Elleva: Fantastical Horticulture Club, Bow's End Tavern working as a server
Pythagoras: Biblioplex working on the Cogwork maintenance team. (Has application for new Club pending.)
Ophelia: Dragonchess Club, Strixhaven Star

The first part of the session was running small bits of role play for their first times at one of their clubs/jobs.

Timmy, Archemedes and Elleva went to the Horticulture Club meet in one of the Biblioplexes indoor gardens. They once again met Urzmaktok the 2nd year orc. They got on well with everyone but Elleva has an air of apathy and Archemedes is a bit awkward and mostly talks about potions. Timmy fares better and gets a +1 relationship point with Uzmaktok. The other two stay on 0.

Kaylah goes to the Fine Arts Society and gies back to flirting with Cadoras (who she previously met at orientation recruiting for the club) her hometown rival Nora (in the year above) is also a member and they have a frosty standoff. She gets a +1 for Cadoras and a -1 for Nora.

Ophelia goes to the Dragonchess Club and is aggressively boastful about her skill at the game (somewhat bluffing) she meets Rampart and Tilana and has a game with the blustery elephant man Rampart. She just scraps a win but is all ego about it and takes a -1 with Rampart. Tilana stays on 0.

Py has his first shift at the Biblioplex, learning about the Cogwork Archivists and sorting/cleaning spare parts. On a break he meets Drazhomir the soft spoken minotaur who loves books and learning. They bond well and Drazhomir gets inspired by a drawing Py did of the Cogwork Archivists and writes a poem! Py gets a +1 with Drazhomir.

A great cog turns
A wheel with purpose
A great machine, of magical mechanic sheen
To shelves returned
The books, the archivist nurses

We then jump a couple of weeks into term and one weekend while the gang are hanging out Cadoras runs over and brings them to the Firejolt Cafe where some students found some funny coloured frogs that they've put little costumes on and are going to have a race.

  • Py and Ophelia put their nerd minds together to try and work out which frog will be best and slyly use a cheeky guidance spell to aid their attempt. They tell Arcemedes who sets about organising a betting racket to try and fleece people. Ophelia is racing the red frog in suspenders.
  • Kaylah persuades Cadoras to race and cheers him on with the violet frog in a Cape. She tries to add an artistic flourish to the Cape but makes a bit of a mess.
  • Elleva gets Javenesh (her superior at the Bow's End Tavern) to have a race with the blue frig in a top hat and cheers him on.
  • Timmy decides to race the orange frog in a bow tie but he's all on his own.

The race gets underway and Timmys frog soon loses interest hopping off the course by itself. Cadoras does well cheered by Kaylah but loses ground at the half way mark. The other 2 are neck and neck but in the end Javenesh is more outgoing and able to coax his frog better as Ophelia loses steam and her arms tire. Javenesh wins 30gp which he splits with Ellva for her support and she gets a +1 relationship point with him. Archemedes only makes 40gp (stood to make 90gp if Ophelia won) and she slpits it with her conspirators.

All of a sudden the frogs start belching strangely and grow in size and start lashing out at the crowd.as other students scatter and plucky heros step up and beat them back eventually making them docile again...to be continued.

So players may be part of 2 clubs or 1 club and have a part time job. Club membership grants you an extra d4 to use for 2 specific check once a day. A job gets you 5gp a week. They also allow for relationship building.

When you become friends with someone you get a small role play boon but if you are able to develop it further into a beloved status (platonic or romantic) you get a pretty good bonus for the game. You can also form a rivalry where you get a role play bane and also in terms of story they will be around to hassle you. I really want everyone to get their own Draco Malfoy. Will be so much fun.
 

WMD

Railgun
Session 4

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So our team picked up investigating the frogs. They soon discovered they had beleched up an oily black substance similar to what they found on the trunk that attacked people at the Biblioplex. Except this time it has a sweet aroma. Py takes a sample to investigate later. They decide to head to the Biblioplex to ask if any staff might help them. They get the names of Verelda Lang, Arcano-Biologist and Brenneth Blackstone, Scriptology Star. Py also takes the opportunity to browse for some books that might be useful. He doesn't roll very well but he doesn't know that yet.

Py wants to go to back to the dorm house and start investigating but the others overule him and go to the Bow's End Tavern to relax. They drink some beers and listen to some live music. Kaylah gets up to dance but she's had a few too many to drink and is an absolute disaster, bumping into people and tables and swiftly clears the dance floor. Archemedes goes crawling about the floor to hear any gossip ot news he can use to his advantage later on. I have him roll investigation and he does well and will work out later what he hears. Py spends his time reading the books and he almost spills some beer on them but just manages to save and gets it on himself instead.

Elleva spends some time hanging with Javenesh and gets on well with him and gets another relationship point with him. She now gets a bond boon from him whereby his tough guy reputation follows you around and if peers would be aggressive towards you they will back down more easily.

Eventually they head back to the dorm and Py can finally do some research on the oils. Kaylah passes out and starts snoring much to his annoyance but he plows on. I have him roll investigation, medicine and nature rolls. He rolls quite well but his bad book choices will let him down.

Exam time! Their 1st exams are for the Magical Physiologies course and will be on Slaadi.

First they get to study. They get to make any check they like as long as they can justify it. I have also decided they can't simply use the same check every time or they'd always study with their best ability check. Kaylah uses performance to create physical mnemonic devices. Archemedes spends time at the labs studying samples and uses nature. Timmy does book work and uses investigation. Elleva spends time outdoors searching for their environment and recreating footprints and uses survival. Py simply spends time recalling their lectures and remembering and uses history. And Ophelia goes the revision notes route and uses investigation.

The exams are in 2 parts and they will make a specific check for each one. Part 1 is multiple choice on Slaad facts and requires an Arcana check part 2 is essay writing on Slaad confrontations using Insight.

Py and Ophelia ace the exams and get 2 student dice (a student die is a d4 they can use once a day to add to a check used from an exam - in this case Acarana and Insight).
Timmy, Kaylah and Elleva pass and get 1 student die each.
Unfortunately Archemedes fails the exams and then banned from extracurricular clubs and part time jobs as he has to do make up classes until he passes a future exam.

The group level up to 2nd level!
 

WMD

Railgun
Session 5
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So we start this time with the second club activities from everyone. Archemedes is barred from clubs while he has make up lessons. Ophelia goes to the Stixhaven Star where she wants to write factual/intellectual pieces. She has a bit of a to do with Grayson Wildemere who writes the Gossip Column. After he storms off in a huff she becomes friendly with Mina Lee, one of the student paper's investigative journalists. She gets a -1 with Grayson and a +1 with Mina.

Kaylah goes to Mage Tower Cheer Squad practice which is led by the ever enthusiastic Zanther Bowen. Kaylah joins in with his enthusiasm and rolls well on persuasion to get the whole club geed up and into practice. Kaylah gets a +1 with Zanther.

Py gets called to the Student Council Room. Outside he gets accosted by Newton Issacson, a son of a rival arms manufacturer to Py's family. Newton is from new money as opposed to Py and there's instant tension and name calling. They head into the room and it turns out Newton is the council treasurer. The VP explains to Py that although he appreciated his ambition his aloof many of requesting yo start a new Club (from orientation day) doesn't follow the rules and expectation of Strixhaven. Newton is loving the dressing down Py is getting but Py defends himself with a few subtle jabs at Newton's expense. Obviously Py gets a -1 with Newton.

Timmy goes to the Dragonsguard Historical Society and meets Bhedum and few others discussing an ancient battle. A great tyrant welding a powerful magical item was taken down by 3 armies. The 3 armies then turned on each other and the relic was lost to history. Hope this becomes a fun side adventure for Timmy and the group. By being well engaged with Bhedum and the others he gets a +1 with Bhedum.

Elleva goes to work at the Bow's End Tavern. She's working as a server and impresses Javenesh with her persuasion skills to get more people to buy drinks.

The others soon arrive, led by Mina as some students found some Wizzard Gizzard boxes to play some games with. Old magic boxes used to teach students how to aim magic rays but they become unpredictable with age and students take them for this pub game. Basically you have 1 minute to land as many shots as possible in a bucket 20ft away. There are 4 boxes and there will be 2 heats before a final. Heat one has Py (who does and Arcana check to try and find the most reliable one), cheered on by Timmy. Newton is present and decides take on Py. They have some cutting words with one another and Py slyly uses an Artificer ability to make a medal of Newton's start to smell badly.

Kaylah also chooses to play which brings Nora out to take her on. The stare one another down and then Kaylah spots Cadoras across the pub and calls him over to support her. Archemedes knowing Py thinks he's onto a winner goes of to hustle the crowd taking bets.

The game begins and Newton gets a paltry 4 in the bucket. Nora manages 5. Kaylah comes second with 6 but Py walks away with it with a mighty 9 shots in the bucket! Archemedes nets a whopping 80gp.

We end the session there and will continue with the second heat next time.

Edit: the conversation Archemedes overheard last time was:
"...if we can't get the money we're screwed" a student says in a panicked whisper.

"I know that" the other replies harshly. He grinds his teeth and mutters "we can't be the only ones he's dug up dirt on."

"But how did he find out!" The first one says his voice rising.

"Shut up. We'll discuss this later."
 

WMD

Railgun
Session 6

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We pick up for the 2nd heat of the Wizzard Gizzard game in the Bow's End Tavern. Ophelia, Timmy and Elleva from the group are joined by Zanther to compete in this round. The standard in this heat is far lower than the last one and the crowd deflates somewhat. Ophelia only gets 2. Timmy and Zanther each get 3 and Ellva wins the round with only a 4. Archemedes decides he can't really rig the betting this time so wanders around the crowd instead.

And it's time for the grand final! Javenesh comes out from the bar and offers up a grey bag of tricks for the winner. We have Py and Elleva as the heat winners joined by Kaylah and Nora as the highest scoring losers. But beforehand Py wants to get his hands back on the box he used in teh first heat...but oh no! Elleva just used it and she's kept it in hand. Archemedes sneaks round behind Elleva and then Py uses Mage hand to knock her ankle and try and trip her. Archemedes jumps out to catch her and with a deft bit of sleight of hand swaps the boxes for one Py has damaged.

And the final is underway. Elleva having lost interest only manages 1. A titanic battle ensues amongst the others with Kaylah scoring 5 and both Nora and Py 6. It's a tie! The crowd is going wild! Nora and Py head to sudden death, Kaylah gets members of the Cheer Squad to cheer for Py and get the crowd rowdy. The shoot out starts and Py brings his A game and delivers a a storming final round to win!

Amid the celebrations he tries out his new bag of tricks and produces a badger and a panther which waste no time attacking his rival Newton. Py pretends to be the bug man and get them to stop but they both know it was deliberate.

Soon the chelf comes bursting out from the kitchens yelling in fear. Some Steam Mephits have appeared and are cuasing carnage in the kitchen. Our team step up and battle the mephits and soon take them down as they explode in ball of scalding steam. We leave off there with the post battle investigation to come.

Side note: as DM I'm a little annoyed at how I played this battle. I basically started initiative straight away after the chef alerted everyone and the group proceeded to hang around the door firing in spells. The kitchen was quite large so by the time the mephits made the trek over 2 if the 4 were already dead. I wish I had waited to start initiative until they had decided to go into the kitchen. Would have made the battle far more engaging.
 

WMD

Railgun
Session 7
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So we pick up in the aftermath of their battle with the steam mephits. Kaylah investigates the cooking pots and finds the black goop on them that's been at other events. Archemedes tries to act as a voice in her head but she recognises his voice. Py still riding his panther collects some sample and Ophelia and Timmy assess to see if there's any magical remnants but find nothing.

Kaylah and Elleva go to speak to Chef Curtie and get her account of events. She does lots of experimental (magic assisted) cooking but the dish has never come alive before! They find out the pots and kitchen ware regularly go to the maintenance department for special cleaning/fixing up. They get free drinks for the rest of the night and scheme and plot for their next moves. Archemedes also reveals the conversations he's overheard. (In the last session he discovered the 2 guys from previously huddled away in a corner and overheard this snippet of conversation:

"...oh god oh god oh god!" Mutters one of them "he said he's gona start leaking our secrets."

"Yeah" the other replies dejectedly, "we couldn't meet his deadlines and that was that. But we have to keep trying and stop the worst being revealed."

"Oh god oh god oh god, what makes you think we can turn this around?"

"We have no choice. We have to try."

At this point I explain to the players that going forward the game will effectively alternate between the main events and a period of free time (the main campaign itself is very linear as its structured around academic years). In each period of free time each player can do 1 thing. "1 thing" could last a long time and they can bring along anyone from the group for their thing. They could choose to investigate main story stuff. Go to their club and further relationships/rivalries. Investigate their own thing- a few have seeds for their own b plots at this point.

So Elleva goes first and heads to work at the Bow's End Tavern to see Javenesh and also further investigate the pots. She brings Kaylah along who can work a charm offensive. For some reason they decide to pretend that Kaylah is a new EHS Officer at the uni and somehow convince people at the pub. They collect some pots from the pub and head to the Maintenance Department building. Kaylah decides she likes the role of EHS Officer and continues the deception as she announces she's there f9r an inspection and gets taken to the Cullinary Supplies department workshop. Turkin Blackstone is the manager who begrudgingly gives her a tour.

She inspects the cleaning area, repairs area and final preparations area and sees staff using various potions and balms on the pots. Nothing is the same colour/consistency as the black goop but she notes some of the potions being used. Flame Balm to help with heat distribution of the pots to cook well. Ferrous Elixer to help with the mechanical rigidity of the pots. Arcano Salve to give special resistance to the pots based around Chef Curtie's cooking. And Eldritch Balm which adds general protections and helps the other potions.

Next time we will continue with Elleva at work.
 
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WMD

Railgun
We had few weeks off for one reason or another but now we're back at it!

Session 8

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So we picked up with Elleva at work. She tried to spend her time flirting with Javenesh and listening in on customer for any tidbits like Archemedes has been hearing but rolled pretty bad so neither yielded results.

We then picked up with Ophelia who wants to further her club activities. She plans to research the game of Dragon chess to increase her skill at the game. But for now she is pursuing an idea for a new feature of the Strixhaven Star: Impossible Riddles! She wants to devise fiendishly difficult, logic based riddles to challenge the readers. As she knows she isn't the most wordy and language based person she heads to the Silverquill campus in search of inspiration.

She goes to Grandloft Hall, the main building of the campus. After exploring for a while, seeing the various performance and rehearsal areas she find a small library/writing room where she finds her friend Mina who agrees to help with the wording and creativity of the Riddles once Ophelia has the logic and puzzle laid out. This gains her an increase in her relationship status with mina tp +2 and she gains a friendship boon whereby Mina will help with research and report findings a week later. During the discussion Mina reveals how Grayson's gossip column is getting more and more mean spirited.

She finishes up by heading to the topmost balcony of the Grandloft Hall and observes for a while seeing howbthe enchanted windows direct light to the stages and how the Inkling mascots play in and around the light beams.

Archemedes decides he wants to break into the Strixhaven Star offices and find out if Grayson was behind the blackmail she overheard in the Tavern. They spend ages devising all sorts of plans to get him in. I'm far from convinced they made the smartest choice. Ophelia (as a club member) spends a few days working late to gauge when the last people leave and lock up and on the night of the break in leaves with the last people and signals to Archemedes waiting outside that the place is empty. Archemedes makes a terrible stealth check and doesn't realise they all noticed him hanging around the area.

It takes him a few tries to pick the lock but manages to not have anyone come across him. Eventually he gets in and breaks into Grayson's office. It's overly grand and self important. He's had a name plate made, has a portrait of himself on the wall, some framed printings of his column. Archemedes finds some drafts of his columns and finds they are more sensationalised, scathing and mean than the final versions that went to print. He also finds a secret compartment in the desk but breaks the lock before he gets in.

He spends some time moving everything ever so slightly, things just out of place, frames on the wall left a bit crooked etc. On the way out as he's struggling to relock the door an adult comes by and asks what he's doing. He passes himself off as drunk, looking for a toilet and is shooed away.

Next time we will pick up with Timmy, Kaylah and Py who still have their 'free time' activities to do.
 

WMD

Railgun
Session 9

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We pick up with Kaylah's free time. She head to the Fine Arts club to flirt with Cadoras. She immediately spots him and goes to where he is working on his fractal pattern sculptures. She sets up a board and uses pig bladders to make balloons filled with paint and uses darts to pop them to create an abstract work. She let's Cadoras have a go who gets very enthused at the notion of combining sport and art. Unfortunately the piece comes out looking pretty bad and messy. Mostly brown with bits of pig bladder stuck here and there.

Her rival Nora shows up to mock her efforts and show off her own beautiful landscape. Kaylah recognises it as being near their home village and studies it tobsee if its really Nora's work but can't quite determine if it's all her work or not. Kaylah them goes over and destroys her work while dancing. Cadoras loves the performance art but others in the room laugh thinking she is throwing a tantrum. Now covered in paint she tries to hug Nora but Nora manages to avoid the grapple. She moves to +2 with Cadoras and -3 with Nora.

Py has decided that if the Student Council won't approve his club he will just form an underground club anyway. He gets to work at the Biblioplex early to get things ready as he's fastidious like that. When on break he meets up with Drazhomir and engages in a conversation that's actually an interview to check if he wants Draz in his club. Draz does well, they are both studious types and get on well. Draz, who favours poetry over mechanics even sells the idea of a poet who writes about the growth of industrialisation and mechanisation. Py gets up to +2 with Draz.

Timmy goes to the Dragonsguard Historical Society to learn more about the Battle of Kleenedune and the lost relic. He learns more about the sudden appearance of the mighty tyrant and howbhe invaded 3 countries from within which ended with the besieging and resultant war at his fortress. He hears about some of the rumors and theories about the relic. That it gave the tyrant some form of immortality, had strong brainwashing powers etc. He stays to see the club run through old battles on a 3D map and agrees to back back for one of their war game sessions where they play out theoretical battles on maps to see how they might unfold. This earns him a +2 with Bhedum.

Exam time! This time they are being tested on Owlbears. Kaylah studies ny borrowing notes from Py and Ophelia (persuasion). Archemedes by then stealing those notes (sleight 9f hand). Py goes out into nature (against his instincts) and also studies Archemedes (nature). Ophelia goes to her meditation spot in Silverquill to ponder the world (nature). Timmy tries to memories and recall owlbear facts (insight). Elleva recalls her grandfather's old party trick of wild shaping into an owlbear (history). They all attain a reroll to use during the exam.

The first part of the exam is on Owlbear Disposition and Habits and requires a nature check. The second part is on Owlbear Companions requiring an animal handling check.

Kaylah and Elleva just scrape a passing grade by the skin of their teeth and gain one student die from the exam. Archemedes, Timmy and Ophelia all ace the exam and get 2 student dice to use. Archemedes is also allowed back to club activities. Unfortunately Py brings his quill for writing in codes and fails the exam so he is now barred from clubs and jobs.
 

WMD

Railgun
So been a bit slow to update here so a few posts uncoming. Last weekend we finally got to have our first in person session for this campaign!

Session 10

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So a few of them heard some rumours as they were leaving the exams. These centred on the Rose Stage Festival and what crazy props or stunts the organisers had in mind for it. But Kaylah, Timmy and Py are blissfully unaware Kaylah coz she's carefree, Timmy is deep in thought and Py is already writing a letter of complaint about the exam.

The group go to their favourite haunt, The Bow's End Tavern, to chill and drink and soon Zanther comes along with message asking them to come to Captain Dapplewing's Manor at midnight and they've been challenged to liberate Sassy Sally-Jane. A doll confiscated decades prior for its disruptive influence in classes and supposedly in the manors attic. Every year a group is challenged to rescue her but sll have failed.

As its a few hours early the group try to do some recon. Py, Ophelia and Archemedes ring the front door and are answered by The Earl who works as the butler and doesn't let them in as a dinner party function is going on this evening. Archemedes immediately bugs out and Py makes a copy of his complaint letter to give to him to pass along to Proffessor Lang.

Py produces a boar form his bag of tricks and rides off to the Biblioplex to do some research on the house. He finds out some history on the house; how Captain Dapplewing become a professor after retiring from the military and as he taught classes for multiple colleges built his Manor house (styled after a fortress) on the central campus to make teaching easier and have stately functions. After his death he bequeathed his residence to the university which have continued using it for teaching and dinner functions.

He also learns about some of the security at the house. The Earl is in fact a clockwork man and with fight to defend the home at night. As well as a pair of statues by the front door which will attack intruders.

Meanwhile, Archemedes spies on the house and watched the guests leave with one professor locking up the residence. He follows the professor and bumps him while dropping some books to try and pick pocket the key but unfortunately fails.

The group reconvene and head up to the house as midnight approaches. A group of students is waiting expectantly by this time and is excited to see our heroes turn up. A mix of friends and rivals are here to see the team attempt to free Sassy Sally-Jane. Ophelia speaks with Mina and asks for help to find out about the rumours going round about the Rose Stage Festival.

Soon they head round the back and as archemedes goes onto a veranda to peer through the door to cacti attack him. The group swiftly dispose of the prickly plants. Archemedes is able to pick the lock with ease and heads in to scope out the joint. As he passes a series of stones busts, a scarf lated around them becomes a fire snake and attacks! This fight is a bit more tense but Elleva wild shapes into a dire wolf to finish of the ebast which winks out of existence as its defeated. They manage a pretty decent group stealth check to see how noisey they were.

They swiftly head upstairs and after opening a couple of doors find a bizarre pillar in the centre of the building. The soon find a secret door and discover a spiral staircase inside the pillar. Archemedes and kaylah head up first and find a curious room. Full of all manor of odds and ends including a fancy dress with wings of bones which attacks the pair unleashing arrows of bones as it flaps its wings and pummelling them with its surprisingly solid cloth fists. Back up soon arrives and they dispatch the dress which disintegrates.

Py quickly locates Sassy Sally-Jane and as he picks her up hears her say "Only you mother thinks your smart." (I was delighted when he rolled for this response!) Which he takes pretty personally!

They try to leave quickly but in the excitement of victory are not as careful as before and they alert the Earl to their presence who tries to apprehend them. A battle at the foot of the stairs ensues with Py ending the fight with a catapulted hammer to the head of the Earl! The group get out fast!

Most people are delighted to see them victorious and many want to hear the things the doll has to say. Kaylah squeezes the doll in front of Nora and the doll tells Nora "You call that a hairstyle?" The group of spectators pledge to pay for their lunches for a month and soon everyone disperses into the night....

They level up to level 3!
 

WMD

Railgun
So the other night I got a bit carried away after discovering the Traditional Newspaper template in Word and made an edition of the Strixhaven Star newspaper which I sent to my players.

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WMD

Railgun
Session 11

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Back in with free time and Kaylah goes on her date with Cadoras. She super excited and has really dolled herself up and made herself look very fancy and beautiful. Cadoras picks her up and they go for a walk to Quandrix college, which is very picturesque and green but with rivers that flow through the sky and cubic or spherical lakes that hang in teh air above the ground. The fish inside don't seem to mind!

They go to a park where he has set up a fancy picnic for lunch and some easels for them to paint during the afternoon. The chat and learn about one another and Kaylah manages to make the more inspiring piece off art. They then head back in a mascot drawn carriage. This one has a Quandrix Fractal and a Prismari Art Elemental pulling it along and soon end up at the Prismari campus and the esteemed restaurant The Elemental. Where tables are formed from earth and stone. Little springs of water run across the floor and little flames float in the air as romantic candles. They have a great meal and almost cause a bit of a commotion as Kaylah plays with some Elemental magic herself.

They head back to the Bow's End Tavern for some live music and to party at night. Kaylah teaches Cadoras to dance and they wow the crowds in attendance! When they leave cadoras drums up the courage to asl Kaylah put and she kisses him. Their move to +3 beloved relationship status and Kaylah gains an inspiration die she can use once per long rest.

Ophelia goes to the Dragonchess Club and has dragged Akanis Kallista, the Strixhaven Star sports correspondent, along to document and write up the match. They have an interview where Ophelia talks up Dragonchess strategies and having to be a true intellect to play the game. She also says it's a griping game which needs a larger profile and tells Akanis to document the match move by move. Akanis rolls her eyes at this suggestion.

Today Ophelia is playing against Tilana Kapule. Tilana comes out of the gates swinging with some very aggressive play to try and intimidate Ophelia but Ophelia reads her like a book and takes an early lead. Ophelia tries to push her advantage with some intimidating comments but that just snaps Tilana back to reality and the match evens out. In the closing moments Ophelia, desperate not to loose, tries for some sneaky bluffs that don't pay off and Tilana wins the match.

Ophelia, having now had several public failures at the club and in the pub games stares at the board dumbfounded. Her infernal nature boils up to the surface as she looses control of her emotions as she yells and hellish rebuke starts to go off burning the table and causes a panic in the room. People scatter, Tilana gets a little singed but is mostly fine, and soon a teacher has arrived who demands to know what's going on.

Ophelia manages to blag that she had been taunted and provoked into her reaction. The teacher warns her to be more careful but that this sort of behaviour won't be tolerated again and she escapes serious punishment but she gets a -1 with Tilana.

Ophelia tells her housemates the match went well and Elleva questions her on it when the paper releases a story about teh incident with a picture of Ophelia wreathed in flames. She tries to pass it off as fake but Elleva pushes the subject saying people have been talking at the Tavern and Ophelia snaps at her and calls her Smell-va!

Next time we will pick up with Archemedes, Timmy and Elleva who want to go to the Fantastical Horticulture Club.
 

WMD

Railgun
Session 12

So its been a while what with people having holidays or being ill but finally we're back!

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We pick with up with Archemedes, Elleva and Timmy heading to the Fantastical Horticulture Club to learn more about plants and their uses. One club member gives a talk about the Nightcreeper Vine which when harvested and worked in a specific way can make a very tough and hardy rope. Archemedes pays close attention and feels with some practice would be able to make it but doesn't know the Witherbloom Campus well enough at this stage to find and harvest the vines.

(The session played by jumping around time a bit as players were doing their own thing but did end up interacting but I'll try and make it as linear as possible)

Archemedes was mostly interested in poisons and wanted to ask Urzmaktok about them but wanted to wait until he wasn't surrounded by other students. So to begin with eyes everyone up to judge who might be a more shady sort and spies a Gnome (who turns out to be called Erky Murnig) and strikes up a conversation by accidentally sneaking up behind him. They chat about the vine/rope talk and Erky mentions they'd be great for tying people up (and that some people like to be tied up!) Archemedes brings up poisons and Erky gets all hush hush but excited and reveals the restricted sections of the library meant for older students have some very interesting books on the subject. Though he is unaware as to whether it would be possible to steal books from the Biblioplex.

Archemedes also asks Erky about Urzmaktok who tells him Urzmaktok is a wellspring of knowledge but also a bit of a good boy, so you have to take care questioning him about poisons and make it seem purely academic. Archemedes then enquires if Erky knows others who may be willing to discus and dabble in poisons and the 2 agree to form a secret clandestine club: The Poison Appreciation Society

While all that is occurring Timmy goes up to talk to Urzmaktok directly and Elleva loiters nearby pretending to look bored. Tommy brings up the rope lecture and asks about other useful plants to adventurers and finds out about the Bubble Lily, a delicate flower whose nectar has some healing properties and if processed correctly some restorative properties. However it must be harvested correctly or it spoils easily. Timmy asks about workshops where Urzmaktok can demonstrate it correctly and Urzmaktok agrees to think about it and plan something.

Elleva then suddenly asks about plants that can do harm instead, specifically poisons and drugs and frames it as needing to keep a look out when she's working at the Tavern. Urzmaktok likes the initiative to look out for other students wellbeing (Elleva also makes up that her friend is starting an EHS society at the University) and describes a rather potent and addictive drug that places a person into a state of total bliss making them dangerous unaware of the world around them. Something that evil adventurers have been know to weaponise.

The discussion leads onto Witherbloom Capmus and they learn students are allowed to forage and harvest the many and varied plants that live there but if they are excessive or start to harm the ecosystem they will get in trouble. Urzmaktok also informs them about the Flora of Witherbloom, a ln encyclopedia of sorts of the plantlife to be found on campus which is periodically updated by the Witherbloom professors, Most recently by Lisette on of the college Deans. He also warns them about the Claymore Mushroom which will explode if you step on it!

Timmy asks specifically about Kleensdune and although Urzmaktok is no expert he does know that the great battle unleashed a huge amount of magic in the area which can still be found in the plantlife in the area. In fact you need to be careful as there are many dangerous plants in the area, some even roam the land!

At this point it's only Timmy and Elleva chatting with Uzmaktok and Archemedes tries to stealth his way into the conversation but everyone notices him sidle into the middle of the group! Archemedes asks Urzmaktok about getting help brewing potions as you need to know both what to do and not do as "you wouldn't want to hurt anyone". Urzmaktok sees through the sarcasm and isn't initially impressed but Archemedes mollifies him by passing it off as a bad joke.

The group also inform him about the black sludge found at the various incidents this year and ask for his help in identifying it which he agrees to.

Next time more exams!
 

WMD

Railgun
Session 13

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Once again the gang have exams coming up! This time on Otyughs (which were taught in lesson 6). Kaylah studies by stealing Ophelias notes (sleight of hand). Ophelia, still reeling from her recent public failures, goes around trying psyche her self up by trying to put others down and stating her superiority (intimidation). Archemedes sneaks into Py's room and perches up in the rafters to watch his revision and make notes (stealth). Py imbues pebbles with revision notes and uses his cauldron familiar to boop the stones so they keep repeating the notes over and over to him (arcana). Elleva when walking home from the Tavern one night breaks into the classroom to find the test questions (investigation). Timmy (using his bond boom with Rampart) gets help evading security as he sneaks some books he should have access to from the library (stealth). Everyone studies well enough to obtain a reroll for the exams.

Exam time! This is their final exam of their Magical Physiologies class. Part 1 is multiple choice on otyugh lairs and identifying them. Part 2 required writing essays about the types of creatures that keep otyughs in their lair and the reasons to do so.

For the first time no one fails! Several people have the opportunity to use student die to add a bonus d4 to their rolls and make sure they get through. Timmy and Py pass and get 1 student die each to use for investigation and persuasion. The rest all ace the exam and get 2 student die!

Now it's time for the much anticipated Rose Stage Festival (first introduced after the last exam and in more detail in the Strixhaven Star edition shown a few posts earlier).

They meet Javenesh on their way there who gives them some details about the improv nature of the show and that anyone can participate. People aim to get the biggest laugh of the night but also fear the jeers that come if you fall flat! At the Rose stage they meet Mina who hands out some Kazoos and they see some students in costumes acting out a scene. Quentillius is compering the night bringing other students in or out of the scene as they play off each other. Some students have props and they run in if they feel they can add to the scene with the prop. One student with a cardboard cut out of waves charges across the stage when a tidal wave is announced to be approaching! The audience laughs or jeers and many play their kazoos in accompaniment.

Kaylah and Ophelia decide to perform. Archemedes and Py decide to use props. And Elleva and Timmy decide to use Kazoos. Elleva wants to give encouragement to Javenesh.

I secretly hand out the performance and prop cues to those who need them which I'll put under the spoiler below and call the session early as I now have more of a framework to build the scene around and hopefully make it fun next week.

Kaylah's prompt is Mage who can't control their magic.
Ophelia's prompt is Furious Ship's Captain. Ophelia also plans to bring Sassy Sally Jane with her and does some investigating yo try and work out the most dramatic way to enter the stage.
Archemedes' prop is Rainclouds with Glittery Raindrops.
Py's prop is Three enormous, baggy body suits made out of felt with hoods that look like teeth. Py also uses his bag of tricks and pulls out 2 panthers and a giant elk to create the three hooded body suits of the apocalypse with their trusty steeds.

Also I'm very pleased with how my drawing of the Rose Stage turned out so I'm gona share it below with the map from the book to compare (I appreciate this is just my ego but I was genuinely very pleased by it)

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WMD

Railgun
Session 14
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Ok so due to the nature of this session I wasn't making as many note as usual so I'll try and make this as accurare as possible. I had briefed the 3 pairs (prompts, props and kazoos) separately beforehand about how I was going to intro the session and when they could jump in/be called in.

There's a fair few NPCs, that the players have previously met, involved in this so I will detail them with their roles first:
Quentilius: Compere of the show

Performers
Tilana: Businesswoman whose been turned into a cat.
Javenesh: a very hungry monster.
Nora: an erudite sea serpent
Zanther: an adult in a toddler's body
Unnamed students: one is a cowardly King and the other an exasperated knight.

Props
Cadoras: wooden cut outs of random Elemental spells
Rosie: wooden cut outs of an owlbear and a basilisk
Mina: a large wooden cut out of a ship

I prepared a short script to intro the evening and set the scene before bringing the players in. It's basically what's going on on stage while the players are preparing. I didnt necessarily read it exactly as written as cat speak is surprisingly hard and I was also trying to react to what they found funny.

The script is in the spoiler below, the underlined parts are Quentilius as the compere. I think the rest is understandable from context but feel free to let me know if its not and I can edit it.

Is that a cute kitty cat entering the scene?
Tilana with cat ears and a tail enters the scene “How meawful! I was meownt to go to work today and meow look at me!”
Oh no this businesswoman has be tuned into a cat!
“Ah! A talking cat! What devilry is this! Get it away from me!” a student wearing a crown yells in terror! Backing away from the new arrival!
“How rude of mewou!” the cat exclaims
“Sigh. fine my liege” a knight says with an exasperated tone “I'll deal with it”
“Dyeal with me? Im purrrfectly fine nyot being dyealt with!” as she licks her paws and brushes back her hair. “Wheres nyour HnyR myanager?”
“Sigh this really isn’t my sort of combat”
“NO get it away from me!” the cowardly king yells as he backs away from overwhelming stern cuteness!
A terrifying rumble washes over the land!
You see Javenesh run on to the stage “Roar is there nothing to sate my hungry grrrr”
The rumble was this hungry monster’s belly and the king has fled right into his path!
“Argh!” the king explains as Javenesh makes a show of devouring him! Rosie runs around behind Javenesh with a large wooden cutout of an owlbear mimicking Javenesh’s movements in an over the top manner to much mirth.
“Tyhats a discipurrnary fur I work” the business cat informs.
“Sigh, guess I need a new employer.” The knight says forlornly.
“Still so hungry! That feline looks mighty tasty! Come here!” Javenesh makes a show of chasing the cat
“Meow?! I cyant die! I just got a purr rise!”
“Sigh guess I'll save you then”
A tense battle ensues. The exasperated knight vs the very hungry monster!
All of a sudden an explosion of magic sends the monster flying back!
Cadoras runs onto the stage with cut outs of elemental spells!
Was it the knight? NO he lies dead! Where did it come from?
Quentilius nudges Kayah in the back and sends her into the fray!
Enter Kaylah (wait for kaylah entrance)

So Kaylah enters wearing a beard and carrying a wand says some poor magic mumbo jumbo and Archemedes tries to stealth appear with his prop but fumbles it and trips slightly making the spell seem ineffective!

Oh no! This mage can’t seem to control their magic!

Javenesh makes a show of not being able to eat the rain from Archemedes prop and goes back to chasing the cat. Kaylah exclaims that she will use a force field to save the cat and Archemedes successfully stealth into the scene swooping around her to mimic the force field but it repels the cat! As Javenesh is about to catch the cat Py decides to just send in his elk with one of his props riding it and Kaylah tosses her wand aside and successfully acrobatics onto the elk which the crowd absolutely loves! She uses the elk to “attack” Javenesh and he makes a dramatic show of dying which people enjoy!

The monster is vanquished! But what’s that?! A huge wave is in coming!
Enter Nora “Hissss ssstupid mage! Thatsssss not how you control ssspell!” Rosie quickly ditches the owlbear prop and follows behind Nora with a basilisk prop!
This sea serpent seems to know a thing or two!

Kaylah and Nora face off and Kaylah tells the cat to come to her for protection. Tilana cat tries to pounce gracefully onto the elk but just belly flops across the back of it! Kaylah goes to charge the Elk at serpent Nora but she dodges slithers past and tries to nab Tilana Cat while mercilessly mocking Kaylah for her ineptitude! They tussle of Tilana but she’s soon had enough.
“This is mew much for me meow! I myust get mew work.”
And the cat flees worried about getting a tardy reprimand for her bosses! But whats this small child entering the fray?
Zanther enters waddling on his knees! “Waaahh! Waaah! I say, how did I end up like this?!”
Oh-ho! Looks like this child has the mind of a grown up!

Zanther falls on his face “Waaah waaah! When did walking get so hard again!”
After some weird back and forth Kaylah does a legolas manoeuvre while riding the elk to collect her wand from the floor and land back on it! The crowd love it!
Soon the serpent is washed away!
The waves the serpent brought in are still crashing around and look what its dragged sailing in!
He sends in Ophelia wearing a captains hat who very dryly talks about navigational coordinates and not being able to find her way to the confusion of the crowd! She makes a somewhat sarcastic remark about not being able to find a proper compass prop! Mina follows her with a cardboard cut-out of a ship.
This captain sure doesn’t look happy

Zanther is miming to drown so Kaylah casts a spell to summon a ladder for him to board the ship but as there isn’t one handy Archemedes grabs a box and stealths his way into position on the stage! Ophelia still speaks in dry monotonous tones which the crowd doesn’t like much so Ophelia pulls out the doll of Sassy Sally-Jane!
And do mine eyes deceive me? Is that Sassy Sally-Jane as his first mate?!
The crowd love it and she gets it to speak by squeezing the doll and Sassy insults Ophelia. The crowd find it funny and she does it a few times but starts to get annoyed at bring laughed at and gets the crowd to chant Sassy Sally! Sassy Sally! Kaylah tries to get teh elk to stomp in time with the chant but messes it up horribly. Py intuits what she wanted and instructs the elk to do the stomp correctly and send his panthers in to do some acrobatics which is a little underwhelming as they mostly just prance around. Kaylay tried to do an acrobatics display on the elk but falls down to stage instead!

As the crowd start to turn against them Kaylah goes to leave the scene with the elk and as Quentilius is about to intervene cries of terror start to sound around the auditorium. The owlbear prop has transformed into a real life raging owlbear! A fierce battle ensues, Kaylah is sent to 0hp with its first attack! The others rally and try to help battling the monster and Py directs the elk to get Kaylah to Ophelia but the owlbear pursues and also downs Ophelia! Elleva gets Kaylah back on her feet and soon Py delivers the fatal blow from his Artificer canon! The Owlbear transforms back into the prop it once was but just as they think the terror is over the Basilisk prop also comes to life to face them. The other props also animate and are flying around terrorising the crowd!

And that’s where we will pick up next time!
 

WMD

Railgun
This is our next dnd live session where we met up to play for a day. It was a couple of weeks ago now and shouldve written it up sooner but oh well. I think it's a resonable account of what happened.

Session 15

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We pick up with the gang in battle with the basilisk which they swifty dispatch even though several of them run around working out what to do about those who have gone down, but they all survive. As the basilisk is defeated all the rampaging props return to normal. Soon a teacher, Professor Johenne Totsky comes over after marshalling fleeing students and thanks and congratulates the gang. She was especially impressed with Kaylah’s performance during the festival and gives her a cloak of protection! They find more sludge on the props and Totsky asks them to investigate which balm or salve is responsible. She gives them letter of introduction to find out which balm at the Maintenance Office is the affected one.

To prepare Py goes to the library to find books on salves and balms. He gets the Cogworks to assist and gets 10 books. Along with Achemedes and Ophelia they study the books and feel like they will be able to identify the correct balm if confronted with it.

Ophelia asks Mina to research if there have there been any rumours about balms, shortage, orders, extra orders anything odd. She agrees to investigate for them.

Whist at work Elleva turns into spider to listen in on suspicious guys in the corner and overhears:

“…urgh this sucks!”
“I know everyone knows about us now, but it could’ve been worse.”
“Yeah, but he still knows about the other stuff. What do we do?”
“Sssh! For now, we play along and do what he asks.”
“What if we get caught?”
“He’ll slip up eventually.”
“Then we get revenge!”
“Not so loud!”

Kaylah goes off to Cheer Club and asks Zanther about the Rose Stage and soon heads of to Silverquill to find the Playactors drama guild and gets introduced to Rubina Larkindale. They discuss what transpired and if any suspicious characters or activity was observed but to no avail.

Archemedes goes to his secret Poison Club with Erky and meets the half-orc, Sutha. Whilst pretending to learn how to brew health potions they discuss plans for the club and how to sneak into the library to get poison books from the restricted sections and whether they might be able to forge a permission slip. They decide to try and break in that night when the library is shut and Archemedes ends up flying up and finding a loose window he sneaks in and flies across the ceiling stealthing his way along into the restricted section and finds the Arcano-botany section. He finds a book on basic poisons and manages to sneak back out successfully.

Timmy goes off to find Urzmaktok and asks him to join their investigation into the balms which are causing so much havoc at the school. Urzmaktok is happy to help if it can bring peace back to their learning.

The group then reconvene and join with Urzmaktok and head to the Maintenance department to further investigate the balms. Kaylah, as EHS officer leads the way and with the letter they gain access and meet Turkin Blackstone again. After investigating the area Kaylah was at last time, they find the Eldritch Balm is the source of the problem. They find out where the production facility is and head off to investigate there.

At the production facility Ophelia goes off to go through their records, incoming ingredients, outgoing deliveries and such to try and find discrepancies. The rest of the gang go to the production line, as eldritch balm is a fairly large product and learn about the manufacture process. They gain samples of the four main ingredients of Eldritch Balm and set about to investigate.

They work out out is the special water used that is corrupted. And after reporting to Professor Totsky she gives them holy water to pour into the underwater spring in the Sedgemoor swamps to end the corruption. She also asks them to collect some spell components whilst they are there as she now needs to have the eldritch balm stocks on campus seized.
 
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