Sunday 7 May 2023

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 17 (Machodor #6); A Fistful of Gems



This session saw the party go back to the "dungeon" of the crashed Sky City, once again trying to find the lost treasure of Ron Ragnar.

Timekeeping (Aus)

This session took place on 05/May/2023,  and the PCs adventured for 2 days.

Player Characters Present

Godleve (Level 5 Cleric of Machodor,E)
Giuseppe (Level 4 Paladin from Rome, Brovenloft, E)
Sever (Level 4 Ranger of Machodor, E)
Sheamus (Level 3 Irish Fighter from Brovenloft, E)
Slippery Pete  Fluid the Druid (Level 7 Druid, E)
Dusty (Level 1 Dwarf Thief of Schloss Ragnar, E)

Downtime Summary

With only a week between Machodor sessions there were only a few downtime days available. Bumblebore used the time to train the captured & subdued Firedrake. 

Professor Dorol
Professor Dorol of the St Raul Botanical Society arrived in Schloss Ragnar, having persuaded the Pegasus Corps to give him a lift over from St Raul. 

He thanked Giuseppe, Sever, Godleve, Slippery Pete, and Sheamus again for their work in bringing him the mutant giant skunk (in Machodor session #1). He had with him 5 flasks of potion made from the blood of the creature;

Potion of Mutant Giant Skunk Strength: When a Mutant Giant Skunk Strength potion is consumed the individual gains great strength and bonuses to damage when he or she scores a hit with any hand-held or thrown weapon.

Weight Allow. +6000
Damage Bonus +9
Bend Bars/Lift Gates 70%

In addition to fantastic strength the potion has another, not altogether desirable, effect on those who imbibe it; they begin to excrete a vile musky sweat. Although not directly harmful to the user, other creatures will shun them for the duration the potion is in effect. Enough sweat accumulates on the extremities that a single attack can be made that; if it hits a vital region such as the head or face, and the opponent fails to save versus poison, it will be blinded for 1 hour, and, in any event, the musk will cause the creature to retreat a full move and lose 50% of both strength and dexterity due to nausea for 1 turn. Creatures such as undead, as well as others as decided by your DM, are not effected by this aspect of the potion.

Session Report

The return of the prodigal Druid
Slippery Pete, a mere 30gp short of his training funds, managed to come up with just the required amount from Professor Dorol in trade for the Kenku eggs he had pilfered last session. This meant he was now busy training and his player would need to player a different character; which in a fit of madness I suggested should be the (in)famous Fluid the Druid.

The players confidently set out to return to the crashed Sky City and explore further in than last time. The spring weather was good, and they decided to break their journey and check in at Castle "Partially Irish". They found that Connor McGregor and Sir Troland had come to an arrangement to share facilities, but negotiations for a more permanent deal were still ongoing. Here Bumblebore took his leave to train his Firedrake, O'Malfoy, under the watchful eye of his new friend, the Magic User Sarumin the Beast Master.

The Volcano (again)

The players returned via their previously travelled route to the western most extent of the base of the volcano. Once there they hobbled their horses and started the long climb to the top. 

"You appear to have come up in the centre of the city, a circular gap that 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."

They'll bring it back next time
Passing the still largely frozen body parts of the strange creatures they had discovered last session, it was universally agreed that they could be worth something if they brought them back on the way home.

They went east into the city and found the long corridor, made entirely of metal and with flickering lighting, stretched away from the entrance for 240 feet. Everything was much the same as before. Finally a door broke up the monotony. Beyond the door, which was still open was the room in which they had first encountered kenku hatchlings.

This time the room was different to how they had left it, all of the bodies were gone, and the lights were out. The latter did not bother them since they had a plethora of Continual Light gems that Godleve had prepared during downtime. They soon found that all three exits to the room, formerly simple archways into corridors, had been filled with pieces of metal stripped from elsewhere and somehow melted together to form a barrier that restricted the space to about a 3' diameter tunnel.

As the smallest member of the party, Dusty the dwarf thief volunteered to go first. He got through with no issues and signalled the party to join him. Whatever its purpose the obstacle only served to slow them down a little, and they made for the access tube they had discovered last week; which, they knew, went up one level.

However, rounding a corner, they ran into a bunch of hatchlings accompanied by two fully grown kenku. Both sides were within striking distance and neither were surprised. The battle went much the same way as last week, with the hatchlings being mowed down while raining eggs on the party. The difference this time was a barrage of Magic Missiles from the Kenku. They concentrated their fire on Giuseppe, a pattern that would reoccur throughout the day.

In the aftermath some of the hatchlings manages to flee into exposed ductwork, they left behind the eggs they were carrying and Dusty snagged one of these (which was important later!).

The end of the passage terminated in a circular room that was an access 'tube' to the next level up. There were barely discernible rungs imbedded in the walls that the party could use, they believed that the native inhabitants used wings instead; except for emergencies. There was a short delay as Fluid sorted out a means of lifting his pet, Petunia, via rope, and then they were set to explore.

The new level was clearly built with the same technology as the rest of the place, but here there was no sign of the mess made by hatchlings as on the first level. The ceilings were also much higher, twenty feet compared to ten feet. Corridors lead from the circular room at the top of the access tub to the north, east, and south; and the party investigated the east first. Here they soon found a similar 'access tube' room, but it went down, back the to level they had come from; and, as they could clearly see without having to go down there, the room's three exits had been completely blocked in a manner similar to how the corridors on the first level had been narrowed.

Back to the circular room and then north, they found several corridors that had also been blocked off. Sever was unable to make an impression with his bend bars/lift gates attempt, so they continued on and found a large room with some sort of life support water treatment plant. The thing radiated a faint and indefinable magic, and Dusty collected some pure water from a spigot. 

They returned again to the circular room and went south. They ignored a corridor heading west and continued south, here finding that the corridor terminated in a shut door (the doors on the first level were all open enough to get a finger hold and open them manually). Dusty went to examine the door; but, as soon as he got close, it slid open with a "woosh" sound; revealing a very large hexagonal room beyond. Dusty scampered back and the door soon slid closed again with another "woosh".

The situation gave the party pause, and Fluid went up to examine the door. This time it did not open at his approach, but it did open when he touched it. Taking no chances, they stuck a metal spike into the gap between the open door and the floor and also braced it with Dusty's 10' pole (where the dwarf was keeping this I did not enquire, but will in future!)

Now the party filed in and examined the well lit, 100' wide and 30' high room. A single machine dominated the area, made up of tubes and funnels, it was clearly of a different function to the water treatment machine, and they could hear some sort of arrhythmic clanking from somewhere above and out of sight.

They circumnavigated the room, which was more than enough time for the the kenku on top of the machine to notice, go invisible, and investigate. The PCs set up back at the door way opposite an area of the machinery that appeared to lead to an area containing rungs and steps for climbing up. That's when the kenku struck.

One cast Magic Missle, the other, a 5HD Kenku, cast Web. This latter spell was devastating, catching 5 out of the 6 PCs within a silky, gooey, mess. Fluid alone made his saving through and began to turn into a giant eagle.

A sticky situation (can't help myself)

Several of the players had Strength between 13 and 17, this meant they were effectively out of the fight for 10 turns! Sever was also stuck, but with his 18+ Strength could rip through 1' of webs per round. I rolled a d6 for each stuck player to determine how deep within the webs they were. Everyone got a 5 or 6 except for Sever who got a 1. This meant he could break out in 1 round (lucky!)

Now the rest of the kenku, and two Hawkmen, who were also up on top of the machinery, stopped what ever they were doing up there and attacked as well.

Winning initiative (the party got some crucial initiative wins today) Sever raced into the machinery, found his way up through the interior, and surfaced at the top of a platform to see a bunch of kenku and two Hawkmen flying his way. I ruled he had a chance to surprise the nearest kenku as he popped out in front of them, and he ended up with one segment. This was enough for the ranger to slice through first one opponent and then the other, which was pretty impressive to the captive audience of the rest of the party stuck in the web.

A spell casting kenku hit Fluid, now in giant eagle form, with Magic Missiles while he returned the favour with a claw/claw/bite routine on another. One of the Hawkmen zeroed in on Sever while the other flew out over the trapped party aimed a sort of hand crossbow at them and fired. The shot turned into a bolt of lightening which actually missed his intended target (Giuseppe) but did hit the web itself and I was suddenly faced with the question; does lightning set fire to a web? I decided to give it an item saving throw, which it failed, and the whole web went up doing 2d4 of damage to everyone; but the resulting 4hp was universally agreed to be a good trade off for otherwise being stuck.

I shook my head and rationalised that this was exceptional role playing of the fact the Hawkmen and kenku were not actually accustomed to fighting in combination, and so such a mistake was not out of character for them.

Wing Damage rules DMG pg 53
The next few rounds offered plenty of practical applications of the "Wing Damage" rules. Since both sides had fliers with feathered wings, they had more HP for the purpose of hitting the threshold at which they could continue flying, and this came into play. Sever sliced a Hawkman and forced him down before he could fly past. The newly free Giuseppe returned fire with his shortbow (and Machodorian leaf arrows, don't leave home without them!) and knocked the Hawkman flying above him past 75% damage, causing him to fall 20' down and taking another 2d6 falling damage which finished him off with a splash.

The other kenku now dived onto the 4 party members on the ground and I rolled for which kind of attack they would use; since the FF states they can use Claw/Claw/Bite, Staff, or Samurai sword. They all got staves or swords; which really is a lot weaker than their body weaponry, and this allowed Dusty to barely survive an attack. The thief backed away and held the egg he had picked up earlier out in front of him; which resulted in the kenku picking another target. Since the hatchlings showed no empathy with the eggs at all, this was quite unexpected.

Fluid was being a Magic Missile sponge, and so was Giuseppe, but the druid was also fighting two high HD kenku. He clawed the wings of the first, then started on a second, tougher, one. Both sides took damage until neither could keep flying, but each stayed just on the right side of the damage limit to maintain control as they fell. As this was the first time I have used these typically Gygaxian hyper specific rules I was very happy to see so much turn on a few hit points of damage.

Meanwhile, up on top of the machinery, the Hawkman had drawn a longsword to swing at Sever, and, though his sword did not penetrate the other's armour, somehow a zap of electrical damage went through the field plate armour and damaged the ranger. The Hawkman himself was too damaged to withstand Sever's return blows and he soon fell.

Now that all combatants were dead or grounded, the next few rounds saw the party grind down their opponents and score what initially seemed an unlikely victory.

They looted the bodies of a few coins, strange weapons, and helmets with odd attachments that proved to be some sort of scopes for aiding missile fire. 

The Hawkmen also wore badges on their leather armour and the players collected these as well.

However, the real prize was on top of the thruster machinery; row after row of glass "gems" similar to what they had found last session in a hatchling nest; but these were clearly more valuable, and within them contained some sort of glowing power. It was clear that their defeated enemies had been systematically removing the gems with special clamps and storing them in large backpacks. Already they had collected about half of what was available. Some trial and error showed the party that it would take about 10 hours to collect the remainder, and this proved too much for them to risk. They grabbed what was available; which at 100 pounds each was nearly as much as they could carry, and, confirming there were no other exits from the room, they headed back to the tube room. They made a quick detour into what proved to be an armoury that earlier was the scene of a battle between Hawkmen and kenku. The place had been cleared out, but they did find another hand crossbow, apparently without power; and a dead Hawkman, who they noticed was not wearing a kenku badge.

From here they made an orderly retreat, regretfully leaving the frozen creatures where they were since they did not have spare carrying capacity; and they did not notice any other encounters on the way out (but did one notice them?)

Treasure and XP


Gems: The weird glass-like faceted gems filled with a strange energy were worth 5000gp in Schloss Ragnar (this means the party left 5000gp worth behind!)

Strange Coins on the Hawkmen: 15 gp

Monetary XP total = 5015gp


Kenku Hatchlings: 10
Kenku Eggs: 10
  • 2HD * 4
  • 3HD * 4
  • 4HD * 1 
  • 5HD * 1
Total 1,792 XP

Hawkmen * 2 =  220XP


3 Hawkman "Zapper Hand Crossbows"  900XP

Considered equal to a +2 magic weapon, although it has neither “to hit” nor damage bonuses. When fully charged it fires a "bolt of lightening" having a range of 9” and whenever it strikes, the bolt then becomes the head of a 3' wide, 15' long stroke of lightning. Any creature hit suffers 1-6 hit points of damage, plus 10 hit points of electrical damage. Any other creatures in the path of the back stroke take either 10 or 5 hit points of damage. 

The hand crossbow needs a full turn to recharge, otherwise it will deliver only a d4 bolt of electrical damage and no lightning bolt, and the the recharge time is reset. Unlike normal hand crossbows, this Weapon has no adjustments vs AC.

2 Hawkman "Zapper Swords"  200XP

These function like a normal longsword unless a button on the hilt is pushed during an attack round. This function causes the recipient to take 1-10 hit points of damage, with no saving throw, when struck in melee combat. Any “to hit” score discounts metallic armour and shield (giving opponents armour class 10) but not plain leather or wood. Magic bonuses on metallic armour do not affect armour class, but such items as a ring of protection do. The sword requires 1 turn to recharge before using this ability again.

2 Hawkman "Scope Helmets"  200XP

These helmets have a scope which telepathically interfaces with the wearer and reduces the range penalty for ranged attacks by one step for any missile weapon (i.e. medium becomes short, long becomes medium) and also removes the penalty for firing at or from a flying creature. For Hawkman hand crossbows, these scopes remove any ranged penalty for the entire 9" range of a full bolt or the 6" range of a normal bolt.

Monsters XP Total: 2012   
Monetary XP Total: 5015 
XP Item XP Total: 1300

Total of 8,327 XP Weighted by Level & Bonus/Penalty

Godleve (Level 5 ) 2081XP  & 1253 GP
Sever (Level 4 )  1665XP &  1003 GP
Giuseppe (Level 4 )  1665XP &  1003GP
Sheamus (Level 3)  1249 XP &  752 GP
Fluid the Druid (Level 7 but scoring as 3) 1249 XP & 752GP
Dusty (Level 1)  416 XP & 250 GP (and one Kenku egg)

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