“You have all felt the call. The subtle pull to this remote wilderness. This is how you find yourself wandering through this forest at dusk. You have each come alone and are making your own way through the woods.”
That’s how I started my gaming group’s new “Modern Magic” campaign. Set in the modern world where magic and other supernatural elements have been hidden, suppressed, or dismissed as trickery. The players each take on the role of a modern-day magic user, that one-in-a-million person born with the innate gift to use magic. They each lead seemingly normal lives, privately studying what their gifts can do, until they are all drawn to the same remote wilderness one evening…
And that’s where we picked up the story, the players (Carlos, Jessica, Seth, Sydney, Todd, and Trevor) all separately making their way through the woods toward a nearby clearing. They each got a chance to roll against IQ, at a minus of course, to realise that “very subtle magic has been worked on you, and you also realize that you don’t have to walk into that clearing if you don’t want to. The spell is broken”. Only two of them, Jessica and Todd, made their roll and they opted to stop before entering the clearing. The rest of the players entered the clearing at almost the same time, all from different directions. Making their way to the center of the clearing they could see some kind of circular design cut into the ground and ringed with sticks, twigs, and other objects.
The group in the clearing began to converse with each other and discuss what was going on and why they were here, with Todd and Jessica watching from the treeline. Seth and Carlos studied the circle, making their Thaumatology rolls to identify it as a very complex summoning circle.
At this point everyone noticed a blue glow coming from the woods opposite the group. Everyone moved back as a blue glowing robbed and hooded figure (yes, just like a Force™ Ghost) walked into the clearing.
Todd, everready for a fight, drew his Blasting Rod, an enchanted drumstick, and hurled a bolt of lightning at the figure. A blue glowing hand raised and gestured, a disc of energy swirling with symbols appeared in front of the hooded figure and deflected the lightning into the ground.
The glowing figure continued to walk forward, pulling his hood back to reveal a male face with strong Native American features. As he came to a halt several feet away, he said, “Easy kids, everyone calm down, I’m one of the good guys.”
He went on to explain that his name was Hiawatha, and he had been dead for about 600 years, but that hadn’t slowed him down much, as he’s also an active member of a millenniums old organization called the Council of Mages. This council is made up of some of the most powerful magi, living or dead, in the world.
Hiawatha had summoned them to this remote location to deal with whatever was being called forth with the summoning circle they had seen in the clearing. He said that some unknown group of what had to be dark magi had become more active as of late, and it was clear that they shouldn’t have the kind of power they’ve displayed. He also quipped that the group could consider this an audition of sorts, and that he hoped they survived. He explained that they had a few minutes before moonrise triggered the circle and that they should probably prepare. Then he vanished.
After some more introductions and discussion, and a failed attempt to disturb the summoning circle which turned out to be warded, the group decides to stay and face whatever shows up. They prep their enchanted items, funny how they all came prepared for a fight, and waited.
As the moon rose, light shown into the clearing and moved onto the circle, the pressure built and with a “pop” and a flash of light an 8ft tall hideous creature stood before them. They would later learn that this was Balor of the Evil Eye, king of the Fomorians, a Celtic god.
He was attacked almost instantly from all sides and staggered. (I’ve got to build my gods a little stronger from now on…)
Balor recovered and went on the offensive, severely wounding Carlos and kicking Sydney through a few trees. He was then beaten back before he teleported away; fire balls, lightning bolts, and tree ents given life seem to be effective against Celtic gods.
The group recovered and healed the injured just in time for several minions of the god, goblin like creatures apparently created or summoned from Otherworld, to make their way to the clearing and sneak attack the heroes. They were dealt with with extreme prejudice. Holding only a sword and charging at a mage who has a conditional lightning bolt held at the ready is a bad idea.
At this point Balor popped in and cut Trevor’s Ent in half. He was then subjected to much of the same damage as before with much the same result. Hit points getting low and not wanting to see what his Fragile(Unnatural) disadvantage would look like in play he teleported to safety.
Play ended with Hiawatha appearing and congratulating everyone on handling Balor and saying he’d be in touch.
The group decided to go out for shawarma.