So I just ran my first game of D&D 3.5 in Adris in about 5 years. I was a little nervous going into it - all the "What if I lost my GM mojo?" fears battled in my head. I shouldn't have worried - it was just like putting on the comfiest, rattiest T-Shirt I own. It's nice to know that my GM skills haven't atrophied much at all, and that the players are just as into the game now as the last time we played.
We had 5 hours to work with, and we hired our nanny to handle the kids (three 5-year-olds, and one at 19 months). The first half of the game was reading through character sheets and catching up with what the heck is going on to figure out what to do next. They decided to go for the Black Cube, so they did what research they could and tracked it down to the Astral Plane using both the directional ability of the cubes to find each other and an augmented Find The Path spell. So they Plane Shifted the next morning after gorging themselves on chicken at Martha's. They also found a small shrine set up next to the 10' section of wall they called into existence with Major Creation on Adril's grant of land. They also found a column of cavalry heading east, assumedly to help fight off the goblins the next morning.
One Plane Shift later and they hit the Astral Plane with its endless swirling grey mist. They went that-a-way toward the cube. Eventually they saw a lump of land floating in the void. They got closer and discovered a castle on a piece of land. It had 3 boats moored around the base, so they decided to teleport under one of the boats. As luck would have it, it was a drow ship that could carry about a hundred troops across the trackless void. They found two other makes of ship, and it wasn't long before they discovered humans and githyanki running around.
They spotted a tunnel further "down" under the castle, so Team Sneaky (Mei and Kelsik) went invisible and took out the two guards. A lockpicking and brief scuffle with 4 more guards brought them into a room with a corridor leading out to a central shaft going up and down. They went up toward the castle and the cube. Asalia scouted ahead with her bound crystal shard, and found a large room filled with three camps of troops: 30 drow, 30 githyanki, and 20 humans.
They teleported further up the shaft to avoid the carnage and loss of surprise. At the top of the shaft they found a courtyard with even more troops hanging out. They triangulated their detection spells and figured out which balcony use. Pandora altered her appearance to look like a drow soldier, and Team Sneaky followed her invisibly up to the balcony and through the door. Inside they found the quartermaster's office, bustling with 10 drow and 2 githyanki. 2 drow sentries floated by a closed door in the ceiling. Detections pointed through the ceiling door, so they decided to engage.
The room had 4 doors and the ceiling door. Each could be barred from the inside, so Team Sneaky did just that. Pandora shoved a drow out the door to the courtyard, and everyone barred their doors as the rest of the party teleported into the room. After the surprise round and one round of carnage, the party owned the room and contemplated the ceiling door. They're on a clock now since everyone in the courtyard now knows there's something odd happening in that room...
And we decided to pick it up next time.
One thing I noticed tonight: only two offensive spells were cast the whole night. There was a lightning ball in the guard room when they first entered the room in the basement, and a wall of fire to clear out the guards by the ceiling door. Magic flew around thick and furious, but it was mostly divination, teleportation, and sneaky stuff like invisibility. This group has no aversion to blowing things up, but I found it interesting that more magical air time was given to avoiding combat than dominating combat.
Let's see if they can recover the Black Cube this time, or will it slip through their fingers again?