Web Video: Shadowland Campaign
The Shadowland Campaign (not to be confused with the book) is a Dungeons & Dragons
campaign run by tabletop gaming veteran MechaGM. Most of the players from the Wyrmwick Campaign
return, along with their friend Final Freek.
The premise of the campaign is as follows: fifty years ago, the Drow conquered most of the known world. What lands they couldn't take, they sealed off with a massive wall, leaving the continent divided in two. South of the wall are what's left of the free lands; north of the wall is The Empire
. And on top of all this, after their conquest, the Drow performed a ritual that sealed most of the deities away
, causing a blanket of clouds to permanently cover the sky.
Fifty years on, the forces in the south are sending scouts over the wall to see what they can learn about the situation - and to prepare for a counterattack to take back their lands. The player characters form one of these scouting parties, and they quickly find themselves involved in something much bigger and more complex than they expected...
The party currently consists of the following:
Unfortunately, the campaign had to be prematurely ended, though at 25 sessions it had a good run. Each session can be found on MechaGM's blog
and the campaign wiki
In addition, RolloT wrote a series titled Change Yourself, Change the World
which details Canna's backstory and can be read on his blog
Trope examples in the campaign
- Accidental Hand Hold: Dahlia and Darek on the way to Westgate while on the run from Orcs.
- Action Girl: Every female character in the party.
- Alone Among the Couples: Serriah, though I don't think she cares all that much.
- Animated Armour: Downplayed with Donald, the animated gauntlet. It might have free will, but it mostly helps Darek in battle by allowing him to swap between weapons more quickly as well as grab things from a distance.
- Assassin Outclassin': The party has thus far defeated every assassin that has attempted to come after them (usually humiliating them.) Canna and Serriah brutally criticaled an assassin that attempted to run away from the party. Canna also chopped down a tree to fell an assassin, only for the tree to fall on him and follow with Zelas finishing him off in a spectacular fashion.
- Badass Creed: Canna-"Luck favors the bold."
- Battle Couple: Canna and Zelas primarily. Darek and Dahlia to a lesser extent.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Varric the travelling scholar. Polite, friendly, helpful... and capable of impaling people with his psionic powers.
- Bittersweet Ending: Varsaath is destroyed, but Canna and Zelas sacrifice themselves to hold off his summoned army so the others can escape, and they may not have survived.
- Body Swap: Inflicted on most of the party in Session 22, complete with the 'How Do I Shot Web?' problem - partly handled mechanically, but mostly because most of the players suddenly had to learn how to use different characters.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Lord Errol Jadeis left the party alive instead of killing them when he had the chance. Turns out he was hoping to get them on his side.
- Bow and Sword, in Accord: Darek, Serriah and Zelas, though the latter two usually stick to their bow and rapier respectively.
- Break the Badass: Canna was terrified during the Lord Errol encounter due to him exploiting her fear of being bound.
- Brother-Sister Team: Canna and Darek in combat.
- Can't Hold His Liquor: Darek has yet to actually pass out from drinking too much booze, but it still says something that he managed to get very drunk off one beer.
- The Cavalry Arrives Late: The scouting Orcs didn't show up to help the party until after Lord Errol Jadeis got away.
- Combat Medic: Darek. Dahlia's shield also allows her to play this role to a lesser extent.
- Combat Tentacles: The party faces (and completely destroys) an otyugh with these in Session 19.
- Cool Uncle: Canna and Darek's Uncle Leon. He is also a Black Sheep.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: Darek has had several foretelling dreams about the primodials. Dahlia had one to a lesser extent about the Hobgoblins taking over the various towns.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Darek, at first.
- Doppelgänger Attack: Keil Raulhausen does this in the second fight against him.
- The Empire: Run by Drow. Though it may be starting to fall apart.
- Enemy Mine: Turns out Khaleed Vexis is perfectly willing to help the party get rid of Varsaath and find the Book of Days to free the gods.
- Everything Sounds Sexier in Drowstralian: Well, Canna thinks this about Zelas's accent, anyway.
- Fake Brit: MechaGM as Black Jhaan, Xadarax and Khaleed Vexis. People in the chat noted that the latter sounds a bit like John Cleese.
- Fantastic Drug: Confidence. Enjoy the feeling of invincibility while it lasts, because after that comes serious pain.
- Fantastic Racism: Between Drow and non-Drow. It's little wonder that Zelas said he'd be screwed if he went south of the wall, because north of it, there are quite a few places where non-Drow are second-class citizens at best. This gets shown when the party pays a visit to the very Drow-centric Eastgate.
- Fire-Forged Friends: How Zelas befriends the party after escaping from his chains. This is also the basis of Serriah and Canna's friendship.
- Five-Man Band
- Fluffy the Terrible: Or rather, Fluffy the owlbear of Session 20. He didn't last long.
- Giant Spider: Ones from the Feywild ambushed the group the second time they were travelling to Welgard. They weren't as much trouble as two swarms of much smaller spiders, though.
- Glass Cannon: Zelas can't take a lot of punishment (he goes down in battle so often it's practically a running joke), but makes up for it with insanely high attack and damage rolls.
- Guest Star Party Member: Swift, an orc thief who was only around for the first two sessions before going off to investigate things on his own.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: The first battle against Lord Errol and Xellia.
- Hydra Problem:
- The Lava Brutes fought by the party - they explode on death, creating a number of motes that can be absorbed into other Lava Brutes when killed. Fortunately there's a range limit on this absorbtion.
- As you'd probably expect, the hydra fought by the party also did this, in the classic manner of growing extra heads as they were lopped off. It was eventually killed by a stab to the heart.
- If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: At one point Canna threatens to punch Dahlia so hard the latter would wind up defecating her own teeth if she hurt Darek. Later, Darek gets to return the favour with Zelas, who doesn't react too strongly even though the threat is possibly more severe. (Compare a punch to the face to freezing someone's hands and breaking off their fingers.)
- Incredibly Lame Pun: In Session 2, Darek points out that the difference between a raven and a crow is a matter of a pinion. No-one in the party is amused.
- Intimate Haircut: Canna, of all people, volunteered to cut Zelas's hair to make it easier for him to escape detection (as he is technically a wanted criminal). They ended up bonding while doing so.
- I Owe You My Life: That Tiefling the group saved from being turned into a Lava Brute by Jadeis? Turns out she's a member of a cult of assassins... but when she got hired to assassinate the party, she instead chose to spare them and give them information because they saved her life.
- Ironic Echo: Zelas claims a kiss from Canna as his prize for winning a duel with her. Later, Xellia manipulates Zelas into kissing her to save Canna, and claims that as her prize.
- Is That What They're Calling It Now?: Serriah's reaction to Canna saying that she and Zelas went graverobbing the night before.
- Kissing Discretion Shot: After 18 sessions Darek finally works up the nerve (with Dahlia's encouragement) to kiss his love interest. As he is leaning in Arclight (Dahlia's player) calls for end of scene because he is a giant Tease!
- Knight Templar: Lord Errol wants to rid the world of the Drow. To do so, he's started a Primordial cult, turned innocent people into monsters to bolster his forces, somehow got a succubus on his side, and ultimately aims to release one of the Primordials. And he may be posing as a priest of the Raven Queen to gain converts.
- Lame Comeback:
Darek: You have aggression issues.
Canna: Your face is an issue!
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Zelas doesn't care for Lolth (the goddess the Drow worship), doesn't seem to mind fighting against the Drow to overthrow them, and would sooner kill himself than betray his friends (while most Drow have serious Chronic Backstabbing Disorder).
- Not Worth Killing: Lord Errol will regret this later.
- Never Found the Body:
- The empress of the Drowlands. Everyone thinks she's dead...but where's the body?
- Canna's beloved uncle Leon hasn't been seen or heard from since he headed to Eastgate. He's presumed dead... but as Zelas points out, "presumed" doesn't mean anything.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: On the way to Westgate, the party fought a group of kobolds raiding a village, and ended up killing one who was running away so it couldn't alert the others. Except if the kobold had escaped, it would've told its allies to retreat. Things did not get better for the village, especially not when Szartharaxx showed up.
- The Night That Never Ends: Sealing away the sun god caused the sky to permanently be overcast. While day and night still technically exist, the spirit of the trope is there.
- Not in This for Your Revolution: Zelas is just in it for the money and adventure; he more or less has no stake in the return of the gods and taking back the lands from the Drow.
- Our Orcs Are Different: Northern and Southern Orcs have very different cultures in the setting; the Northern Orcs are nomads, while the Southern Ones are turning into a fantasy version of the Roman Empire. Mechanics-wise, they use the Half-Orc stats for player characters, as seen with Swift.
- The Pig Pen: The troglodytes first encountered in Session 19 are so unhygienic that their stink does damage to opponents in close proximity.
- Pintsized Powerhouse: Redcaps, fearsome little iron-booted murderers from the Feywild encountered by the party on the way to Welgard (both times).
Canna: Those little fuckers kick so hard!
- Pit Trap: "You mean the obvious looking trap was an obvious looking trap?" Zelas falls for this trap when he walks in the middle of a pile of gold despite the rest of the party's suspicions.
- Relationship Upgrade: Between Canna and Zelas at the end of Session 15.
- Running Gag:
"Good thing there aren't more [hobgoblins] up there!"
- After a session where the DM got plenty of good dice rolls in combat, it was the players' turn in a fight in the following session. Gav's resulting comment and MechaGM's response (paraphrased below) started a joke which still comes up every now and again, usually in response to his dice luck.
Gav: Now, what you don't know is that we stole your dice!
MechaGM: So, you guys broke into my house, stole my computer, and replaced it with an exact replica?
- One that started in Session 11 has people calling Darek "adorable", much to his irritation. Not only does even Dahlia get in on it, but that session is even titled "The Adorable Artificer" on the wiki.
- Jadeis is behind everything. Even when it doesn't make sense. Especially when it doesn't make sense.
- The players threatening to go Off the Rails.
- Sticks, and the quality thereof (or lack of it).
- Save Your Deities: One of Canna's main goals.
- Scarily Competent Tracker: Serriah gets a +21 bonus on skill checks for tracking. Be afraid if she crits on such a check.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: How the fight against Xadarax the beholder ends - he's almost dead and decides to concede defeat and flee while he still can.
- Sealed Evil in a Can:
- The Drow didn't just seal away the good gods...
- Lord Jadeis leads a cult which is trying to set one of the Primordials free. Jadeis himself doesn't plan on this, though.
- Varsaath Everblack, a Dracolich sealed within a lost temple of Moradin since the War of the Dead. He'd been weakened by the seal, but still managed to put up a hell of a fight. And when his makeshift phylactery exploded a piece of it got inside Dahlia. Now she is the can, and he's trying to get free.
- Khaleed Vexis the ex-tiefling lich, too, though he'd been sealed away by different means.
- Sealed Good in a Can: Pretty much all of the good-aligned deities. They can still interact with mortals to a degree (such as Avandra giving Canna visions in her dreams), but they don't have anywhere near as much influence on the world.
- Shapeshifting Seducer: Xellia has fun as one in Session 17 by posing as Canna and tricking Zelas into engaging in intimate conversation, then attempting to gain his favor by using her form (while paradoxically calling the real Canna “weak” and “trash”).
- Darek's familiar - an animated gauntlet - is named after Donald Glover.
- Canna is named after Kana from 20th Century Boys.
- During one battle, Rollo T makes a reference to Spoonys Campaign, specifically "We were fighting like MEN!" Except there's no kill-stealing involved this time.
- When the party borrows some of the Broken Fang tribe's wolves, Canna names the one she rides "Nucky." Since renamed "Wolfy Thompson." And now back to "Nucky".
- The spirit inside Canna's sword is named Sten, after the character from Dragon Age: Origins.
- In Chapter 17 When Zelas explains to Canna who is actually Xellia his fear, he talks about being turned against her the lines he uses at one point are from a song. He says "I disappeared, I lost control, my body moving all on its own. I watched myself charge at you." This is a slight alteration of some lines from the song "I Disappear" by The Faint.
- While in Eastgate, Canna uses a fake voice and the psuedonym "Arleen Sorkin". As you can probably guess, the voice is modeled after the real Sorkin's performance as Harley Quinn in Batman: The Animated Series, all the way up to calling Zelas "Mistah Y" (he's using a fake name too).
- Show Some Leg: Xellia, a succubus, puts everyone but Canna into a trance with some seductive dancing.
- Shutting Up Now: After arguing with Canna for about 10 minutes, Darek says something similar to this after being scolded by Dahlia (leading to his crush on her).
- Sole Survivor:
- Serriah is the only survivor of her village after a group of Goblin raiders attacked it. Or so she thought.
- Dahlia was part of a previous scouting party that went over the wall. She was the only one who came back alive.
- Spell My Name with an "S":
- The young white dragon's name is written as Zarthrax in Darek's journal. When he was encountered and fought, it turned out his name was actually spelled Szartharaxx.
- Until MechaGM revealed the spelling of Black Jhaan's name, people weren't sure if his name was "John" or "Jann".
- Sword and Sorcerer: Type 2-Fighter and Healer Dahlia and Darek
- Tag Along Kid: Darek.
- Talking in Your Dreams: Canna has had several dreams where she is talking to her Fullblade.
- Talking Weapon: Canna's fullblade, though it only speaks to her. It's quite the Blood Knight, too.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Practically every attack done by Zelas, the team's Glass Cannon.
- These Hands Have Killed: Darek has one of these moments after taking his first human life and finding out he actually liked it.
- Thinking Out Loud: Darek does this alot when he's lost in thought over the lastest perplexing magical artifact or dream.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Picture the scenario - the party's been captured and forced to fight gladiators and ogres. The ogres were particularly problematic, but they've finally gone down. Then this happens:
Khairissa: They are worthy to face... the hydra!
Darek: Oh, you have got to be kidding me.
Zelas: I don't like the sound of that...
- Turns Red: The hydra fought in Session 14 grew extra heads as it took damage, allowing it to attack more often as the fight went on.
- Unexplained Accent: Zelas speaks with a vaguely Australian/British accent (nicknamed Drowstralian by the chat). He's the only Drow in the campaign who does this. Probably because it's not his "real" accent; turns out he started using it while growing up in Eastgate, and it stuck.
- Was Once a Man: The Lava Brutes summoned by the hobgoblins.
- We Can Rule Together: Jadeis makes this offer to the party while in Eastgate's prison. Naturally they refuse.
- Wham Episode: Session 7, wherein we learn that the hobgoblins are trying to release a Primordial, and the Drow Empress has been missing for ten years. And then Session 11, which revealed that the hobgoblins were just underlings - the real leader of the cult is a human noble who apparently wants to rid the world of the Drow.
- You Know I'm A Drow, Right?: Both Canna and Serriah have made some rather strong anti-Drow comments... with Zelas right in earshot.
- You Shall Not Pass: Canna and Zelas decide to hold off Varsaath's army of undead to give the others time to run back to the Winter Court.