University of Tennessee
Computational Materials Research Group

MSE Community Building: Triumph at the Sunless Citadel
Knoxville, TN, November 6, 2019

Members of the UTK MSE department concluded their cleansing/plundering of the The Sunless Citadel, a 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons campaign. This final chapter of their initial campaign provided the opportunity for numerous heroics. The soundtrack to this high adventure was provided by a trio of otamatones. MSE senior, Connor Stephens, split his time between portraying the heroic silver dragonborn ranger, Vanilla Yce, and providing dramatic crescendos (such as Duel of the Fates) on otamatone to highlight the martial and sorcerous exploits of his fellow soldiers of fortune. As Sir Martin Cyte, the dwarven paladin who wields a mighty axe with a ternary phase diagram engraved on its lethal blade (played by MSE Senior Cotton Pekol), withered from a debilitating disease contracted during an ill-advised attempt to put an infected giant rat out of its misery, the headstrong Austen Knight, a high elven rogue, (portrayed by MSE Senior Joshua McCoy) took matters into his own hands. He slew (for the third time) their hapless kobold guide, Meepo, drawing from his lifeblood the missing ingredient to heal the dwarf of his malady. His vigor thus renewed, Martin Cyte returned to such dwarvish endeavors as divinely smiting evil twig blights, obliterating them in a burst of splinters.

Meanwhile, in a dark, subterranean forest of twisted trees and fungal illumination, the party confronted the diabolical druid, Belak the Outcast, taking a stand before the corrupted Gulthias tree. The party courageously engaged Belak, assailing him with arrow, sword and spell. With his dying breath, Belak summoned his personal pet, a gigantic albino alligator. The enormous creature stealthily crept from the shadows and grabbed the Most Reverend Sticklin Whitewalker, a blue dragonborn cleric, (played by MSE Junior Colin Moore), clamping his vice-like jaws around the cleric's leg. As the beast attempted to drag the cleric into the shadows from whence it had come, Faerie Rite, the tiefling wizard (ably portrayed by MSE Senior Morgan Yount) launched one magic missile after another into the thick hide of the monster. In a desperate gambit to rescue Sticklin, Portobello, a gnomish druid (played by MSE Junior Samantha Maness) leapt atop the alligator's back and nimbly maintained her balance despite the thrashing and rolling of the beast. With a mighty thrust, she drove her wicked scimitar down through the skull of the savage creature, putting an end to its vile days on Earth...or so she thought.

There was one more member of this brave party, whom we have yet neglected to mention. Mr. Bayne Night, a kenku (bird man) bard, renowned through-out the village of Oakhurst no less for the soothing sounds of his didgeridoo as for the vicious mockery of his foes (portrayed by MSE Senior Cullen Pearson) saw fit to resuscitate the crocodilian corpse as a sort of macabre undead animal companion. Truly it is said that the barmy brain of a bird bard is a difficult labyrinth to navigate.

Will there be a sequel to this campaign in the Ferris undergraduate student lounge? Only time will tell. For those interested in hearing these tales firsthand, the adventurers may be found wandering the fifth floor on certain, overcast afternoons when meetings of MSE 301 or 480 have drawn to a close.

More photos on the Keffer research group site.