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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Game Day: A Nice Day for a Black Wedding

by Ken Newquist / September 9, 2012

In the real world, our gaming group's seen numerous weddings (and will see yet another this fall), but in the game world our heroes never got hitched. Until tonight.

Over the last year of our Second Darkness campaign one of the characters, Skender, has been seeing a priestess of Calistria named Carlila Zalteri at the House of the Silken Veil. On a recent caravan trip into the Velusha Highlands, however, the young rogue met an old Varisian woman named Naomi Silverti. The woman, who served as a sort of "den mother" to the caravan, took a liking to Skender, and began lecturing him on the virtues of home and hearth and straight out told him that she'd find a find young woman for him to marry when they returned to Riddleport.

Skender wasn't about to let her decide his future, but her words got him thinking. After adventures that saw he and his friends slay a skeletal dragon and take its emerald heart, fight the would-be barbarian King of the Nolands, and defeat a rampaging band of ogres, he decided life was too short. It was time to get married. Skender secured the emerald dragon heart as his share of the party's treasure and then headed to the House of the Silken Veil. He proposed to his love. Naturally, she said yes.

The wedding was held at the Gold Goblin, the gambling hall that the heroes had saved, and then become the owners of, during Book 1 of Second Darkness. Only this being D&D, it couldn't just be a simple wedding…

Unbeknownst to all, Carila Zalteri's mother -- Jeliza Zalteri -- had made a demon pact with a succubus named Delathari in order to win the heart of Carila's merchant father, Valk Zalteri. The deal was that their firstborn daughter's s soul would become Delathari's on the day of her wedding. Like so many before her Jeliza thought she'd have time to figure a way out of the pact she'd made; her assumption was -- at the very least -- that her daughter could evade it by never marrying.

Alas, Jeliza and her husband died when Carila was but a child, leaving her an orphan. Years later Carila became a priestess of Calistria, and seemed headed down a path that would see her safely never married. Yet the high priestess knew better, having learned through divinations that a curse hung over the young woman … and how to break it. Carila must be married and her husband must defeat the demon in mortal combat.

Flashforward to the current day. Shorafa presided over her ward's wedding ceremony. After the vows were exchanged, she said "Then you may kiss the bride but do it quickly. We don't have much time." She hastily turned and drew the short sword from the scabbard at her belt, handing the hilt to Skender. The cold iron blade gleamed dully in the light of the Gold Goblin's torches though the heroes caught brilliant glimpses of silver as she turned the blade. A second glance revealed bright silver Varisian symbols etched down its side that translated loosely to Blade of Broken Promises (+2 cold iron short sword demonbane 1x day can cast dispel magic)

"Carila, long ago your mother invited a guest to this wedding in exchange for the power of love. It was a foolish invitation, all the more so in light of her fate, but the deal was made … and now you must unmake it."

And then the reception got underway as the succubus Delathari teleported in, accompanied by a flight of four quasits. Naturally the heroes triumphed, though the demon was able to escape via an ethereal jaunt. As she left, she proclaimed that the pact was broken … but that she would have her revenge.

Not bad for a first campaign wedding. Afterwards the heroes embarked on the journey that would lead to Book 3 of Second Darkness, but this time they headed out with a new NPC: Carlila.

We couldn't just leave her in the city; Second Darkness is about to take a prolonged leave of Riddleport, and it just didn't seem fair to split up the newlyweds. Plus it solves the party's cleric problem (namely, that they didn't always have one) and introduces some new role-playing challenges. Carila will be in the fight right alongside the player characters, so what will Skender do when he has to choose between his wife and his friends? Will there come a time when young Skender decides that adventuring is simply too dangerous, and that the time has come to retire to Riddleport? And what happens if Carila dies during the fight?

We've had major NPCs before, but never one like this. The campaign is about to get a lot more interesting.