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Ten years ago, the Ghoul Imperium of the Underworld and the vampires of Morgau marched into Krakova and conquered the kingdom entirely, establishing the Greater Duchy of Morgau and expanding the borders of the Blood Kingdom.

The undead occupation has been kept in check by resistance from the Court-in-Exile, as well as opportunistic reaver dwarves who sailed across the Nieder Straits.

But the hidden machinations of the ghouls swirl beneath the surface. Rumors abound of an even more sinister plot that threatens not just one kingdom, but the entire world of Midgard.

Empire of the Ghouls is designed by Richard Green, and published by Kobold Press. It takes place in Kobold Press’ fantasy world of Midgard.

Chapter 1: Dread Chambers of the Undercity
Episode 2: The Zobeck Catacombs

Active Party:
Alaric, level 2 dhampir Death Domain Cleric
Bahn, level 2 kobold Bard
I/O, level 2 gearforged Circle of the Moon Druid
Lucian, level 2 dhampir Clockwork Soul Sorcerer
Ry, level 2 shadow fey Black Powder Sorcerer

Previously on Empire of the Ghouls

Having only just returned from their near-fatal trip into the Cartways, the party expected a relaxing stop at the Rampant Roach to turn in their previous quest. Unfortunately for them, the blacksmith, Heston, has other plans.

Rocks begin flying in through the windows of the kobold-owned tavern. Heston leads a small mob outside, armed with clubs and slings. He shouts for Brik to come out and face justice. His despair at losing his daughter and rage at finding Brik’s dagger at the crime scene has finally boiled over.

Despite the threat of violence, the party (which trades the barbarian and rogue for a pair of sorcerers in this session) preaches prudence.

While Alaric slips in a back alley to sneak up on the mob, Bahn, I/O, and Lucian begin talking with Heston, imploring him to stand down. They want the same things: to investigate these disappearances and hopefully rescue Rozalyn.

Heston reluctantly agrees, and his anger gradually fades into sorrow as he calls the mob off.

The party notices one young man looking very uncertain and nervous. They learn its Rozalyn’s husband, Viktus. Viktus was never on board with blaming Brik or the kobolds. The City Watch determined no kobold would be able to kidnap an adult woman, and he disagreed with his father-in-law’s sense of justice.

Unfortunately Viktus didn’t know how or why Rozalyn was taken. He only offered one clue: she had recently started clerking for one of Zobeck’s leading Consuls, Melancha Vendemic.

Bahn has worked with Melancha before. the next day Bahn’s credentials get him as far as the secretary, only to learn that she hasn’t been in office for several days.

Skirtal, the tavern owner, offers to take a lump sum to visit one of the Kobold Kings of the ghetto. After a much-deserved Long Rest, the party meets up the following day and follows Brik into the Kobold Ghetto.

The Ghetto is cramped and poverty-stricken. Buildings are stacked on one another to help block the sun for the sensitive kobolds. The Watch rarely sets foot in here, preferring the Kobold Kings to rule their own.

Brik escorts the party to King Koto Crag-Claw, an over-eager leader dressed in fraying robes and tarnished jewelry. The king is eager to hire these “friends of kobolds,” for 200gp, and offers them a magical Candle of Summoning from his days as an adventurer.

Most importantly, the kobolds have an actual lead.

Empire of the Ghouls chapter 1 episode 2 kobold king

The fedora-wearing kobold investigator, Kwarrel, has been investigating the disappearances and tracking a cloaked figure through Zobeck and the Cartways, leading him to a buried crypt far beneath the city. Kwarrel offers to take them there so the much more powerful party can find answers.

The party quickly agrees, and they head back down the Cartways, this time taking a much more convoluted routed from the ghetto, led by Kwarrel. The kobold agrees to stay behind at the entrance to watch their backs and help lead them out when they’re finished.

The Zobeck Catacombs are filled with caskets, cobwebs, and the smell of death. Thanks to their superior perception, the party notices several Beggar Ghouls hiding in the alcoves, waiting to ambush them. Roll for initiative!

Alaric and Bahn quickly stab and kill the nearest ghoul, but the other two surround I/O, downing her with critical hits before she can shift! Luckily these emaciated ghouls don’t have a lot of hit points, and go down quickly with a barrage of cantrips from the sorcerers and flying daggers from Bahn, who heals I/O back up to consciousness (though as a gearforged, healing magic is only twice as effective!).

In a small southern chamber Alaric picks a door and is swiftly stabbed by metal spears shooting out from the nearby walls. In the small crypt beyond they discover another nasty trap; a statue with arms spread wide behind four coffins.

Smelling a trap when they see one (and Bahn’s Detect Magic finding evocation on the statue), they step back out of the room and unleash three Mage Hands on the coffins, learning that each coffin triggers a nasty necrotic spell from the statue. The coffins are also empty – lame!

The party explores east, and then north, finding another long hallway filled with coffins. Once again they spot the ghouls, and this time I/O wastes no time shifting to bear mode, with Alaric riding on top swinging his war hammer.

The display is impressive, but it also earns Alaric a nasty paralyzing strike from a ghoul before the party can finish them off.

Spotting a hidden tunnel in the east, the party exits into a third hallway crypt with stacks of coffins. Instead of ghouls this one is covered in webbing tended by a pair of zombies.

The sorcerers love having slow targets to blast apart, but when these zombies die, they explode into a swarm of spiders! I/O goes full tank mode, preventing the spider swarms from reaching her more vulnerable companions.

Wording etched over the southern door reads, “From the Cradle.” Bahn zooms past it into the small antechamber. He admires the iron maiden-like suit of armor in the corner, which springs to life and tries to punch him, missing both times. Stupidly lucky kobold!

As the rest of the party rushes forward to assist, the Animated Armor gets some good hits on the kobold, nearly downing him (1 HP left!). But thanks to the combined efforts of the party, the solo guardian is soon defeated. If only they’d guessed the magic pass phrase to shut it off…

Meanwhile on the other side of a nearby door, the party hears two voices talking in hushed whispers, discussing their plans. The male voice discusses abducting people in the city, while the woman is using them for some nefarious purpose (including name-dropping Melancha), and it all has to do with the city’s attitude toward Morgau.

The voices rise in alarm when the armor battle breaks out, and the party hears the sound of stone sliding on stone. The plot thickens!

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