** Major Spoilers for Call from the Deep Ahead **
Chapter 2 of the game ran from sessions 9 through 15 and contained an adventure to Mist Island. This chapter served the purpose of introducing the major threat of the campaign - a black fleet of mind-controlled villains and starting the ‘threat clock’ of world domination by that threat.
Trigger and Faction: Cartographer’s Guild
King Redaxe of Mist Portt, calls for assistance through the network of sages connecting each island. This sage network is called the ‘Cartographers’ and will come back up in later chapters as a target of the main threat.
Mist Island and Call from the Deep
Each town in the campaign got a not-to-scale depiction made in Inkarnate
Mist Island is a slight reskin of the starting chapter from Call from the Deep, starting my use of that module. The party finds that Sahuagin raiders have been kidnapping people, but investigating the town of Fiskrbak which can only be reached on foot the party runs into a crashed Ilithid Nautiloid.
The parallels between this scene and some of the stuff in the most recent Spell Jammer 5e campaign from WOTC become noticeable pretty quickly. It’s not the first crashing Mindflayer ship my players will explore, nor will it be the last.
I'm proud of how this turned out. Combining a 3d render of a free STL meant for 3D printing with inkarnate and hand-drawn elements.
For the isometric art, I used this as a chance to try a few techniques combining hand-drawn illustration and the use of 3D models in Blender. I think the results turned out quite well. The reveal of the Nautiloid was one of my favorite moments of the whole campaign.
underwater light is hard to get right in 3D
Without spoiling too much of the story of Call from the Deep, a mind-controlling big bad is afoot and this spooky departure from the more upbeat Hope Island helped set the scale of the threat that would befall everyone the party knows if they can’t eventually put stop to this. Having a chapter 1 to connect the party to the world worked.
The excellence that is “Call from the Deep”
The DMs Guild, for those who don’t know, is an online marketplace run in partnership with WOTC that allows third-party authors to use the entire body of WOTC intellectual property if they publish a work exclusively on this platform, which takes a 50% cut of all proceeds. Call from the Deep is regarded as one of the few third-party “hardback campaigns” on DMs guild that meets or rivals the quality of WOTCs own hardbacks.
This labor of love from JVC Parry takes story structure inspiration from Storm Kings’ thunder but comes with enough custom monsters, fun NPCs, and showpiece battles that it impresses compared to most of the 5e content out there. I found that the content was easy to extract out of the Forgotten Realms, something that isn’t as easy to say as other 5e Sword Coast adventures.
Han Solo is in Carbonite and the Empire is Winning
Chapter 2 ends with the party having not saved the remote town of Fiskrbak. They’ve been charged by the doomed Jarl of the town to combat the menace and free their people moments before they have to get out of dodge or get swarmed in a scene right out of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. They are gifted by the Jarl with their own ship, which is aptly named the Fiskrbak. It is the ship that saved the town’s ancestors during the flood.
The crew of the Fiskrbak. I continued to use massive amounts of Epic Isometric patreon art in my game, the ships being among the most useful for this campaign
Chapter 3 will pick up with the game opening up into more of a Sandbox where threats will evolve on their own time allowing the players to play whack-a-mole in an order they prefer.
Continue to Chapter 3 - read here