My group has a bit of a tradition. When a holiday is coming up in the real world, we try to fit it into the game.
For Christmas, the party might find themselves having to protect a Santa-like figure from some sinister figure while he tries to deliver presents to all of the kids in time.
For Halloween, they might have a chilling encounter in a haunted house or find themselves having to stand against the Headless Horseman.
But this year we wanted to do something special for Valentine’s Day.
It’s a bit of a different one, but I came up with a couple of hooks to see what the group would find the most fun. Even with no combat, it ended up being one of our most fun sessions ever!
The Situation At Hand
Currently, the party is finding themselves in low spirits.
Unfortunately, a failed assault on the goblin stronghold recently wiped half of the party and was very nearly a TPK. As two new characters join the party, the group decides to bide their time before taking a more strategic approach to handling their goblin problem.
When a half-elf gentleman wearing a sequined purple tailcoat and large matching tophat comes to town with a stack of promotional posters for a concert, the party’s interest is piqued.
The party consists of:
- Drexx, a Half-Orc Barbarian (Totem Warrior)
- Tinkerfoot, a Harengon Artificer (Battlesmith)
- Nyx, a Fairy Cleric (Twilight Domain)
- Warren, a Wood Elf Druid (Circle of Wildfire)
- Burtley, a Gnome Wizard (Evocation)
Warren and Burtley are the newest members of the party having replaced the two that fell in the goblin stronghold.
All Aboard the Party Wagon!
The half-elf introduces himself as Claudo. The posters that he’s handing out are for a singer by the name of Eleni’viel.
To pick up their spirits, the party decides to join Claudo to the show via his party wagon.
They are initially a little suspicious of this free performance, but Claudo happily addresses any of their concerns. The show is free and meant to lift the spirits of the people in the area, but he does hope that they’ll buy some food, drinks, and merchandise while they’re there.
The wagon itself is quite a curious sight. It’s exceptionally long (like a limousine) and pulled by six six-legged horses. Loud pumping party music (think 90s Eurodance a la Vengaboys) sounds off as the wagon starts heading towards its destination: a nearby village that nobody in the party quite remembers being there before. Floating platters of drinks and little sandwiches make their way up and down the length of the wagon for the party and other guests to enjoy.
Mingling with the other guests (including a few familiar NPCs from the town), the party becomes less guarded and starts really getting into the festivities.
Arriving at the Concert
As the wagon pulls up to the village, loud music can be heard from within. Large fireworks rocket up towards the sky with big trails of pink and purple smoke before bursting into heart and kiss shapes.
Around 300 people are packed into the center of the small village setting. They’re all dancing and talking excitedly about the performance to come. Orbs of pink, purple, and yellow lights float above the crowd providing lighting and music.
A light pink fog fills the area with a very sweet and sugary smell. It glitters faintly as the lights from the orbs pass overhead.
There are several merchants present with booths providing food, drinks, and merchandise to the attendees. The merch booth is particularly crowded with signs promoting the limited edition Eleni’viel gear.
The snacks here were as over-the-top sweet as possible to the point of making very little sense. Oversized lollipops and huge four-scoop ice cream cones dusted with pink sugar were the most normal of offerings.
The most popular treats were the kebabs (served with a rich sugary glaze, a caramel drizzle, multi-colored sprinkles, and a hefty scoop of ice cream) and the “nachos” (chips smothered in a chocolate sauce with gummy bears and a dollop of sweet cream cheese icing.)
Not one to pass on a reference to “The Good Place” I couldn’t help but also include a booth serving Peeps and M&M Chili. (The look of horror from the players was worth it.)
There was plenty of laughs and a fun sense of frivolity as the party started taking in the sights.
But that all changed when I asked them to make Wisdom saving throws…
The pink fog filling the space was meant to enchant the people that are breathing it in. It made the crowd really get into the event so that they could lift up their cares, enjoy the show, and have fewer inhibitions.
I’m not sure what was more surprising: the fact that only one person failed the save or that the character who failed was Warren, the Druid.
Regardless, Warren just couldn’t help himself but get swept up in the event. It was exciting and like nothing he had ever experienced before. While Drexx, the Barbarian, had succeeded on the save, he couldn’t help but start mirroring Warren’s enthusiasm. Eventually, Drexx began making his way to the merch booth.
Tinkerfoot found the event to be frustrating and somewhat overwhelming. Being the clever craftsman that he is, he quickly fashioned himself some earplugs and found an inconspicuous place to park himself.
With Chairemy (his trusty mechanical table / Steel Defender from the Battlesmith subclass), Tinkerfoot specifically went for the “Dad who has taken his kids to a Justin Bieber concert” look and crossed his arms.
Meanwhile, Nyx and Burtley were growing ever more suspicious. They started noticing that the signs on the windowless buildings didn’t make any sense. Things like “General Boat Store” and “Super Out of the Way Warehouse Deluxe” gave them a reason to start investigating.
Clearly, there was more going on here than they had originally thought.
Still, they chose to stay near Warren for fear that his strange behavior might cause more trouble.
Now, none of the party had ever heard of Eleni’viel despite claims that she was the most popular singer in all of the land. But, for some reason, Warren found that he somehow knew all of her songs and was confident that he truly was her number one fan.
But things still got a bit tense when he noticed a young human woman (early 20s or so with blonde hair in a bob cut) through the crowd of people dancing and mingling. She was staring at him with a look of intense judgment. Before he knew it, she was pushing her way towards him.
Pointing her finger in Warren’s face, the woman called out “POSER!”
The people around Warren stopped their conversations and all began turning to look at him.
“You’re a POSER!” the young woman called out again, “I’ve never seen you before and I’ve been to ALL of Eleni’viel’s shows!”
Warren tried to speak only to get interrupted.
“Name 5 songs right now and prove you’re a real fan!”
Thankfully, Warren was able to list five songs and even added in a sixth because he “couldn’t just not include that one!”
The young woman nodded in approval before introducing herself.
“Sorry,” she said, “I’m just getting tired of all the posers hopping on the bandwagon and making it harder to be a REAL fan. I’m Sabrina Cheveux, Eleni’viel’s number one fan.”
Warren shook Sabrina’s hand and responded, “I’m Warren and, actually, I’m Eleni’viel’s number one fan!”
More fireworks launched into the sky as the crowd began resuming their partying. It was a strange interaction, but it seemed like Warren had made himself a friend.
The Party Meets Morris
Real talk: we’ve all met someone who can only really be described as “that guy.”
Well, Warren and Sabrina got to meet “that guy” shortly after their exchange.
Making his way through the crowd towards Warren and Sabrina was the full combination of every “neckbeard” meme that has ever been made. A look of strange smugness was fixed on his face as he moved closer wiping the food residue from his face onto his Eleni’viel shirt.
“Oh no…” Sabrina said looking into the crowd, “it’s Morris…”
There was an odd pause before Morris let out a smug “heh” and shook his head.
“As far as I’m concerned, you’re both posers, Sabrina. I bet you don’t even know what Eleni’viel’s favorite color was when she was a baby. Heh. Pathetic!”
Burtley tried to intervene, but Morris pushed him away.
“Heh. I guess the bar is really low to be a ‘fan’, huh?” Morris chuckled to himself.
Warren moved between Morris and Burtley.
“Morris, is it? Look man, we’re just here to enjoy Elani’viel’s show. Why don’t you just go back over where you were and leave us alone?”
There was another strange pause as Warren and Morris were staring at each other. Nyx and Burtley looked at each other and shrugged while Drexx began making his way back over towards his friends.
As Warren went to speak again (if only to break the awkwardness), Morris interrupted him.
“So you want a battle then, huh? Heh… Fine… I’ll battle you!”
Morris pointed up towards the sky and let out a loud yell. The crowd began backing up and forming a circle around Warren, Sabrina, and Morris.
Warren kept trying (unsuccessfully) to calm Morris down until Claudo reappeared and began announcing the battle to the crowd. The winner, he said, would get to meet Eleni’viel as her true number one fan.
As if a switch had been flipped, the enchanted Warren now knew what he had to do…
The Battle Is On!
It was time for the ultimate dance battle: Morris vs Warren and Sabrina.
The battle took place as a series of Performance checks as the “speaker orbs” began blasting music for the occasion. Warren and Sabrina were up first.
Warren summoned a fog cloud for himself and Sabrina to emerge from as Burtley used his illusion magic to give Warren an outfit straight out of Saturday Night Fever.
Sabrina was rolling terribly and tripped in the fog cloud while Warren was rolling remarkably well. Each round, he would add more pyrotechnics to his performance with Druidcraft and the Flame Blade spell.
The crowd was going crazy! Nyx was worried that the spells would get them disqualified but relaxed once she noticed that Claudo seemed to be encouraging it.
I didn’t expect Morris to do well, but his rolls were pretty consistently right alongside Warren’s. So while Warren was moonwalking in trails of fire, Morris was able to shock the crowd with his unexpectedly good shuffling and breakdancing.
When Warren started winning the crowd over, however, Morris started getting angry and desperate. Grabbing an amulet that was tucked under his shirt, he held it up and cast Hypnotic Pattern.
I figured Warren would be fine. As a Druid, he’s typically good at Wisdom saves and as an elf he will have advantage.
Unfortunately, the dice (once again) had other plans…
Is That Cheating? That’s Cheating, Right?
Warren finds himself hypnotized by the kaleidoscope fractals of Morris breakdancing as he succumbs to the Hypnotic Pattern. The crowd and the rest of the party all succeeded on their saves.
An obnoxious chuckle filled the space as Morris began rejoicing in his victory. However, the crowd’s attention began to turn back to the other side of the dance circle…
“With one round left in the dance battle, a new challenger enters!” Claudo calls out.
Burtley doesn’t want to see Morris win and decides that he won’t go down without at least trying to save the dance-off.
The gnome gets a 21 on his Performance check and turns his attention to Morris as the crowd is going wild.
“Heh… Guess it’s time for my big finish, huh?” Morris says with his typical smug tone.
From behind my DM screen, I do my best to keep a straight face as I see that Morris has rolled a 2 for his final performance check of the battle.
“You know the look of a man who is about to make a grave mistake,” I say to Burtley then look around the table at the mixture of smiles and heads shaking “no.”
Leaping into the air, Morris attempts to end with the splits and fails so spectacularly that I might have been justified with having his scream deal psychic damage to the crowd.
With the battle over, Morris is carried away on a gurney while Claudo lifts the hands of Burtley, Sabrina, and the now-recovering Warren in victory. For demonstrating their love for Eleni’viel, all three were given gifts from the merch table and promised that they would get to meet her after the show.
When it’s finally showtime, the glowing orbs stop playing music and begin floating up towards the raised stage above the crowd. They begin shifting colors and form a large heart as the pyrotechnics begin.
The crowd looks up into the sky as the fireworks burst into a thousand hearts and kisses before taking the form of Eleni’viel winking down at them.
“You all came to see me? Oh, I love all of you, my children!” a squeaky voice echoes.
Emerging from the pink and purple smokes, Eleni’viel makes her grand appearance. She’s an Eladrin wearing a sparkly blue unitard and a headdress of large pink feathers (similar to the famous Las Vegas showgirl attire.)
The crowd (with the exception of the party members who resisted the enchantment when they arrived) goes wild. As the music began, Eleni’viel sang her opening song, “I’m Literally Perfect In Every Way” to the screaming crowd.
When the song ended, Eleni’viel spotted one person in the crowd who wasn’t applauding. As she began crying in a way that only those enchanted would ever believe, she pointed the man out to the crowd.
With that, the crowd began dogpiling the heretic. As the party saw him being carried away by some of the roadies, they began to realize that things weren’t as safe as they thought… They started realizing just how close their calls with Sabrina and Morris actually were!
Thanking her “children” for making her feel better, Eleni’viel began her next song of the evening: “Only I Can Save You!”
No Criticism Here
To all but Warren, the situation was pretty clear: if they tried to escape or didn’t pass themselves off as “real fans” things would get bad. Nobody was particularly excited at the idea of taking on an entire crowd of 300+ innocent (though enchanted to violence) people.
Drexx handed some of his merch to his party members so that they could blend in easier. They weren’t able to make Warren snap out of it, but figured he wasn’t in any real danger for right now.
Gaining Tinkerfoot’s attention, Burtley comes up with a plan.
He and Tinkerfoot had been watching Claudo go in and out of the “General Boat Store” and reasoned that there had to be something in there. Casting Invisibility on himself and having Tinkerfoot post near the door to stop it from closing the next time someone passes through, Burtley planned to infiltrate and do some scouting.
Meanwhile, Drexx and Nyx kept a close eye on Warren and Sabrina.
After a few close calls where the floating orb lights (now revealed to be a way to make sure everyone is applauding Eleni’viel) nearly caught them not watching the show, they were eventually able to bring Warren through the crowd to the “General Boat Store.”
To massive applause, Eleni’viel ended the first part of her performance with a 5-minute vocal run. Taking an intermission break, she instructed the audience to talk about how amazing she is for the next 30 minutes.
The party didn’t know how they were going to safely escape but were pretty sure that Eleni’viel was the key.
As Burtley suspected, the “General Boat Store” was a cover for something entirely different.
In one of those “bigger on the inside” situations, it led to a grand hallway with an ornate staircase leading to what could only be Eleni’viel’s quarters. The heavy double doors were decorated with hearts, precious silver, and glistening pink gems.
The door led to a large room with all kinds of exquisite decorations. More prominently than anything was a large 12×12 painting of Eleni’viel on one of the walls. On the vanity, a wide assortment of makeup and jewelry was perfectly arranged.
Maintaining his invisibility, Burtley hid in a corner when he heard someone else coming into the room. It was Elani’viel.
Playing it safe, Burtley decided to wait and observe. The others should be coming in soon.
Looking into the mirror and talking to herself, Eleni’viel seemed to be trying to psyche herself up. She was conflicted about something and was drastically different than she had been presenting mere moments ago.
As there was a knock on the door and the voice of Claudo could be heard calling into the room, Eleni’viel quickly regained her composure and let him in.
With the rest of the party and a few of the show’s crew in tow, Claudo began making introductions between the party and Eleni’viel.
Burtley was nowhere to be found, but Claudo had been rounding up the party to let them meet their favorite performer during the intermission. Warren and Sabrina were nearly completely overcome with excitement.
Unable to take it any longer, it was Nyx who would address the enchanted elephant in the room first.
The Truth Comes Out
Nyx had been paying very close attention since they arrived. She saw the enchantments being used and realized that there was never a plan to allow the people in the crowd to leave.
While she couldn’t figure out what Eleni’viel’s goal was, she took major issue with these people being kept as prisoners.
Drexx and Tinkerfoot chimed in as well. While Eleni’viel clearly enjoyed basking in the love and admiration of these people, it wasn’t sincere admiration.
Eleni’viel confessed that she was aware her approach is a bit heavy-handed, but it’s what she had to do.
To her, this was a way to save these people from the pain and sorrow of life outside of the village. Here, she reasoned, everyone can stay safe and happy forever. It’s why she made sure that there was plenty of sweets and fun music for everyone to enjoy.
Sure, she would never deny her love being the center of everyone’s attention, but was she really doing any harm?
It was difficult to reason with Eleni’viel, but the party felt like they were making progress. Staying nearby and invisible, Burtley was tensely waiting for things to escalate before he revealed himself.
But Drexx had had enough. He had been having an amazing time but was not okay with the situation (having only just now realized what was happening.) He drew his ax and motioned towards Claudo.
If Eleni’viel didn’t end the enchantment, Drexx would start swinging.
With a sigh, Eleni’viel snapped her fingers and ended the enchantment. Warren and Sabrina both began looking around them trying to figure out where they were and what had happened.
The Villain Revealed
Drexx had focused his attention on Eleni’viel to thank her.
This was Claudo’s opening. Drawing his shortsword and lunging towards Eleni’viel, the smiling and eccentric character was clearly only an act.
Eleni’viel fell to the ground trying to dodge Claudo’s blade. The roadies began moving in to help their boss attack the party.
As combat began, Claudo was cursing the party for interfering in his business. Eleni’viel made for the perfect trap. She would attract and enchant people (particularly those that Claudo knew came from wealthy families) and Claudo could ransom them off for a hefty payday. In the meantime, they would stay in this fake village trapped in a state of enchanted bliss.
It’s a scheme that had been working wonderfully until the party interfered.
In just a couple of quick rounds, the party dealt with Claudo and the surviving crew members made a run for it.
Nyx healed Eleni’viel and helped her back up.
“You know, you actually are a really good singer!” Nyx said, “Why don’t you go somewhere with a lot of people? I know you could draw a crowd the right way!”
Eleni’viel looked around at the party.
“I guess I could try… It’s just weird to think I’ll have to start from the bottom…”
Things ended up patching up pretty well. Eleni’viel gave the party some gifts (including a magic necklace to ward off enchantments and a compact with three uses of Suggestion powder) and asked where she should go.
The party had learned that Sabrina was from Waterdeep and that her family is very wealthy. They proposed that Sabrina could pull some strings and maybe work as Eleni’viel’s manager back home. Both were excited at the idea of the arrangement.
Eleni’viel signed a few of her promotional flyers for the party and promised them VIP access to any of her shows in the future.
Additionally, Sabrina mentioned that the party should visit her if they’re ever in Waterdeep. Her family would have no problem giving the party a reward for saving her and might even be looking to hire them.
As the enchantment wore off of the people in the crowd, Sabrina’s first job as manager was to find a way to get them back home. First and foremost, though, she arranged for the party wagon to take the party back to their hometown.
Against all odds, the party had managed to not only escape the enchanting trap but also make two powerful friends in the process.
I’m looking forward to the party eventually reuniting with Eleni’viel and Sabrina. I’ve also been dying to finally use the Group Patron rules from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, so this will be a great excuse for that.
However, I think Morris actually managed to steal the show. Everything about him was so infuriating to the group that they have outright demanded to get to meet him again. I’ll have to see what irritating situations I can cook up to include him in in the future.
The whole session was pretty much just a general idea with no major planning on my part. However, seeing how my group interacted and really enjoyed the experience, I think it’s one that I’m going to be revisiting and refining a bit.
If I do, I’ll be sharing it here first!
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