Saturday 29 April 2023

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 16 (Machodor #5); Slaughter of the Kenku younglings

  


A kenku hatchling in happier times

Introduction


This session saw the party, reduced in numbers and without their army, go find a dungeon.

Timekeeping (Aus)


This session took place on 28/April/2023,  and the PCs adventured for 3 days.

Player Characters Present


Godleve (Level 5 Cleric of Machodor,S)
Sever (Level 4 Ranger of Machodor, E)
Sheamus (Level 3 Irish Fighter from Brovenloft, E)
Slippery Pete (Level 2 Thief of unknown provenance, E)
Bumblebore (Level 1 Magic User, E)


Firedrake O'Malfoy

Downtime Summary

After winning a big battle last session downtime was a little quiet, with a number of characters levelling up and training. For Leopold, Sever, and Bumblebore however, downtime was a bit more of a headache (shall we say). All three awoke one morning with a strange vibration in their foreheads. As it was this same three that had spent the night in the castle of the mysterious Master of Winter; they began to become very concerned. They eventually discovered that he was: part demon, a level 13 monk, and he had used a variation of  the fabled Quivering Palm to wipe their memories of their visit to his castle. The one memory they could recover heavily implied that if they did not deliver a payment in gold, their heads might explode!

As well as this Bumblebore was keeping an eye on the captured Firedrake. The creature was constantly melting through the bars of its cage and nearly escaping its dwarf feeders. Finally Bumblebore decided to try and subdue the creature using the dragon subdual rules, which seemed reasonable to me. After hitting the little creature with a Sleep spell, it never stood a chance and is now much subdued.

There was also lots of scheming regarding the possibility of ambushing the red dragon Lord Inferno. We'll hopefully see something come of that in the future.

Also of note, Connor McGregor (Patron Fighter ?) and his army had travelled into the mountains and found that what was expected to be an abandoned castle was anything but. 

Message from Connor McGregor

Session Report


Treefingers (NPC Pegasus Scout Ranger) was amenable to deliver the gold to the location of the Master of Winter's Castle. He did run into a Wind Walker but otherwise the trip went without a hitch, and in time the three head case PCs were feeling much better.

With that out of the way, the players felt confident in setting out to explore the crashed Sky City; located in the side of the volcano. The spring weather was rather good, and they decided to heed the Irish light cavalry and travel with them back to their camp to check on the castle business. As it happened the location was very much on the way; and from there half of the Sky City could be seen sticking out of the western side of the volcano, two thirds of the way up.

After speaking with McGregor, my Irish accent aside, the party weren't convinced that the situation warranted an attack on the Castle, so they carried on to there main objective.

Return to the Volcano

The players returned via their previously travelled route to the southern most extent of the base of the volcano, and I had the fun of getting to make sense of and reread my "boxed text" from that session in the new context. This worked out pretty well since some of the players had missed the description the first time around.

After they passed through the huge carving of Mel Gibson's head, finding the Sky City was easy enough; they avoided the cyclopean and eldritch city in the centre of the glacier and moved west. When it had crashed, the city had landed on the ice and its momentum drove it halfway through the wall of the volcano, covering the huge structure in rocky debris. The PCs found that some of the destruction was a large stone carving, and they set about collecting pieces and putting them together, until, what they had made was somehow obvious; it was the remains of Joe Pesci's head. What could it mean? 

After much searching and examining of the crash site they found no obvious way in, and saw that they would need a lot more rope to scale the 300' tall remains of the city. All this as the sun was dropping behind the wall of the volcano, and the temperature was dropping too. They decided to leave empty handed and return to the Irish camp to spend the night. They hurried back to get there before night had fully arrived.

Sir Troland

The PCs reached the Irish camp and found things just as they had left it. They revisited the subject of the Castle, and Godleve offered to mediate between McGregor and the Castle occupants; if Connor could supply them with the additional rope they needed to scale the outside of the Sky City.

After last session's shenanigans with the Master of Winter, some players could not help but draw a comparison when they found they were welcomed at the gate and allowed an audience with the lord of the castle. The presence of an Ettin, reportedly seen by the Irish patrolling the grounds, was the main sticking point; but they chose to ignore the rumour and give the castle occupants the benefit of the doubt.

It turned out that the lord of the castle was a Sir Troland, Paladin, and brother of the lord of St. Raul, Sir Lansabit. Once the party explained that they knew his brother, both sides realised their common cause suspicions died down. The paladin brothers had set out to make their mark on the world, and Troland was repairing the castle for the purpose of taming the wilds of the Bandit Mountains. During the conversation it became clear that he could help them find the western entrance to the volcano.

The crashed Sky City

After returning to the Irish camp and explaining the situation, the party awoke to a fine, windy day. Sir Troland had come to discuss matters with Connor McGregor, and he had brought scouts with him that knew the way to the western most entrance to the Volcano; the one that should lead directly under the crashed city. Everyone was happy to let the NPCs sort out their issues themselves and left straight away (thankfully no more Irish accent was required).

Once there they found the long stairwell was a mirror image of the one they had climbed in the south most portion of the volcano, and they swiftly began their climb to the top. Before they reached the top, however, the way forward was blocked by glacial ice, first in small fist sized amounts scattered about on the stairs, then larger blocks, before ending at an entire flight of stairs blocked by solid ice. The translucent ice was only a few feet thick, and it was clear enough to see that there was a cavity beyond it. The party carefully broke their way through without incident and soon they had access beyond.

"You appear to have come up in the centre of the city, a circular gap hat passes through the interior. The cathedral like cavity is very large, about 600 feet wide, above is a huge amount of rock displaced by the city's travel through the volcano wall. The way up is completely blocked by this debris; but, the arrangement appears to be relatively stable, although the sound of the occasional rock falling into the ice around you can be heard."

What the creature might look like with all
 the various pieces placed together
However before they could move on, they made a curious discovery; mixed in with the fragmented ice about them were the body parts of a number of strange creatures; long dead, clearly, that had been trapped within the ice for years uncounted.

"Six feet end to end, three and five-tenths feet central diameter, tapering to one foot at each end. Like a barrel with five bulging ridges in place of staves. Lateral breakages, as of thinnish stalks, are at equator in middle of these ridges. In furrows between ridges are curious growths—combs or wings that fold up and spread out like fans - which gives almost seven-foot wing spread."

Some shared knowing glances, but they decided to leave the mystery alone and get on with their task.

At the level of the ice there were 4 exits (i.e. entrances) into the the city itself. The party chose the east exit/entrance, figuring this would put them in the section they had seen the day before from within the volcano.

The found a long corridor, made entirely of metal and with flickering lighting, stretched away from the entrance for 240 feet. Finally a door broke up the monotony. Beyond the door, which slid open from right to left, was were the true terror of this level began.

Sheamus carefully slid the door panel open, without making too much sound, then flatted himself to the side and let Sever stride through. What he saw there gave him pause; about a dozen small creatures, around 2 feet tall, that looked like baby kenku. With them they had a number of eggs, nearly as tall as they were. They were happily munching into the eggs and were unaware of the ranger's eyes upon them.

At this point the players thought they faced a bit of a moral dilemma, they could not help comparing the creatures to human children. Godleve, however, declared that they were the spawn of evil creatures and deserved swift destruction at the hands of the forces of good (or something similarly convincing) and the party moved in; fighter, ranger, and Godleve himself, to the front. 

The room was large enough that two segments of surprise was not sufficient for the heavily armoured types to close the distance, even with a charge, so they opted to close and attack in the next round. As they bore in on their targets, the hatchlings finally noticed them and gave out an ear splitting screech. This was followed by a volley of eggs; yes the disgusting creatures had no qualms about using their fellows as mere ammunition. The eggs raining down on the front line of the party and one cracked against the upper torso of Sever's field plate he had acquired from Castle von Necro. From within, a not yet fully formed kenku hatchling struck at the ranger's neck and gave him a nasty nip.

The the front line came to blows and the sub 1 hit die creatures melted against the multiple attacks brought to bear by the 3rd fighter and 4th level ranger. Godleve himself killed his share as well. In the aftermath they found some strange glassy gems among the creatures sorry nest. 

The party explored further, and, having to dispatched more and larger groups of kenku hatchlings, they seemed to have the run of the place, quickly deduced that they needed to find and access the means to go up a level. Godleve explained that he expected that such creatures would not rely on stairs and such but would use their wings to fly between levels (he was so accurate with this it was like he was reading my mind, spooky!)

One room, which contained a portrait of King Vultan, nearly claimed Slippery Pete's life via a pit trap with spikes at the bottom. Pete's lucky number came up though, and he was also able to prevent the frame itself from being damaged.

a strictly limited edition


Finally they found an access tube at the end of a long corridor. Pete scaled the inside of the 30' wide tube and confirmed it lead to an upper level, but at that point it was time to make an orderly retreat back to Castle Irish, and then back to Schloss Ragnar. Although the pickings had been slim, they now knew exactly where they wanted to pick up next time.

Treasure and XP

Cash

Gems: The weird glass-like faceted gems were worth 300gp

Gold framed painting of King Vultan: 1125gp (for the frame, the buyer left the painting itself with the party)

Monetary XP total = 1425gp

Monsters

Kenku hatchlings: 30 = 320XP
Kenku Eggs: 65 = 195XP

Monsters XP Total:  515+ Monetary XP of 1425= 1940 XP


Items

200' of Irish Rope (just normal rope, but from Ireland)

Total of 1940 XP Weighted by Level & Bonus

Godlevel (Level 5 )  606XP  & 445 GP
Sever (Level 4 )    485XP & 356 GP
Sheamus (Level 3)   363XP & 267 GP
Slippery Pete (Level 2 )  XP Capped at Level 3,  178GP
Bumblebore (Level 1 + 1 bonus for downtime activity)  242XP & 178GP



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