Monday 12 June 2023

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 22 (Machodor #9); The Return of the Space Crew

      



Machodor Order of the Rising Sun


Introduction


With everyone in the Bandit Mountains training or otherwise busy this week, it was time to check in on the valiant heroes who had fixed the sun and saved the world from the threat of an endless night.

Timekeeping


This session took place on 09/June/2023,  and the PCs adventured for 8 days.

Player Characters Present


Karshe (Level 6 Fighter,  E)
Primus (Level 4 Fighter of Machodor, E)
Marty O'Stool (Cleric Level 1,  E)
Slap Dashington (Level 1 Monk, from Space, E)


Downtime Summary

Having survived adventures outside of the very world of Trollopulous, the PCs responsible for switching the Sun back on had been showered with awards, and some rewards, in the city of Minas Mandalf. Now, having finished training and grown tired of easy life in the holy city, the party sought out new adventures.


Session Report


Iolanthis, the NPC night manager of the Minas Mandalf Adventurers Aid Society (fully funded and owned by the Macho King, Mandalf the first) was excited to see the adventurers as something strange had come across his desk, travelling dervish warriors had reported sighting a desert at the south western border of Machodor. The sudden appearance of this sandy desert, in a region previously known to have contained rolling hills, was of great concern. The party opted to take on this investigation, and, to help them with this, Iolanthis offered a loan of a captured Thark Skiff. Since this vessel could fly 30' above the ground, and cover 90 miles a day, it was the perfect vehicle for the task ahead.

Captured at the the siege of Hobgobiton, still smells of Thark.


The party set off on a pleasant spring morning and began making good time across the hills to the south of Gnomesville. By lunch time they saw a bedraggled body of humans ahead. They advanced and found the group consisted of 70 Trollops; but these were no ordinary Trollops, they were from the 'Bighorse' nomad clan; known to roam the region where the sudden appearance of a desert was reported. Breathlessly their spokeswoman explained that; 2 nights ago, their clan's camp was engulfed with a sandstorm and then attacked by unknown creatures. The clansmen were unable to stand against the attackers, and the women were force to flee. Knowing nowhere else to turn, they were heading for the safety of Minas Mandalf before the PC's found them.

The more experienced members of the party remembered with fondness the days when Trollops fetched a large reward in the capital; but, it was for purely altruistic reasons, that they allowed the group to board their Skiff and then rushed them back to Minas Mandalf. There the nomad ambassador rewarded them with 10gp per head, which was better than nothing for the cash strapped adventurers.

The party restarted their voyage; this time, thanks to the Trollops, with a little more to go on. They again went south west, and kept on until they reached the only real land mark in the area; the Pegasus Tower, built on a relatively high hill. The tower Captain, Clodomir, told of a night of strange glowing lights in the sky, and backed up the Trollops and Dervish story of the sudden appearance of the desert, which, from the tower, could be seen stretching south to the horizon and beyond.

A now out of date map of Machodor

Clodomir gave them directions to the likely location of the Bighorse camp, and they set off once again, making it beyond the area covered by map at the end of the day. Opting to camp on the skiff, the night passed uneventfully enough; but, the morning arrived in tandem with a massive sandstorm, this cut visibility to nearly zero and forced them to land and wait until it had blown itself out. 


With nothing else to do, Karshe had one of his henchmen (I.T. Guy) cast detect magic. This spell lasts only 12 rounds, and since it was a non-magical storm, this duration should not have been long enough to detect anything. However, since I had determined there was a random encounter, I rolled to see which hour it happened and which hour the spell was cast. I used a d6 for each and as they both came up with '2' I allowed that the spell did detect the magical creatures coming to get the PCs in the storm!

Even though they were now alert to the danger; one by one, party members fell to the sleep magic of these Sandy creatures from the Fiend Folio. Finally, just before the last henchmen went down, they managed to disturb the cohesion of one of the creatures enough to kill it. It was, in effect, a TPK situation and I had to be pretty poker faced, since, about half way through the fight, I realised that unlike any normal D&D monster, the enigmatic Sandmen would not kill the PCs even when they were all at their mercy. Some hours later, when they recovered, the party realised this for themselves. 
Cool 3e version, the 5e one is way too ghey

The PCs spent the rest of the day checking their belongings, and themselves, for any evil that the sand creatures might have performed on them, but it remained a mystery and they happily moved on the next morning when the storm had abated. Now well off the southern edge of the map, and with dunes visible in every direction, they continued south in the hope of finding the nomad camp. As the day drew on they saw a large group of creatures ahead, hundreds of them, moving south west. When the skiff got close enough for them to make an attempt to communicate, the creatures, only about 3' tall, with blue skin exposed to the desert, shook their fists and bent over to display their nether regions; all the while shouting various unintelligible phrases that, never the less, the party were pretty sure they got the gist of.






Safe on their Skiff 30' above the ground, the party made appropriate gestures in return and then continued on until nightfall. However, when the next day dawned, they could see little silhouettes against the northern sky heading their way. Just after this, another sand storm closed in, and they were forced to once again land and take refuge. Braced for another Sandman attack, the day passed uneventfully; but, the next morning saw the the Skiff surrounded by hundreds of tents. Upon examination, the tents were made out of a very familiar looking blue leather, and, sure enough, soon the little blue creatures (who had simply followed them south on foot) came boiling out of their tents towards the Skiff. 

Since previously it had become canonical that Slap Dashington, being from space, also had blue skin, he was the subject of some suspicion at this point. He deflected by asking for clarification to determine if these creatures running towards them were Smurfs, which, of course, they were not. I realised later this afforded me a perfect chance to have a henchman ask: "Are we there yet, Papa Smurf?" but I missed it. An oversight which continues to haunt me.

Anyway, once again the PCs raised the Skiff above the ground and easily out paced the little army that had surrounded them. The creatures possessed no missile weapons, and, although some shaman types may have tried to cast a spell, they had made their escape long before it could take effect.

After another day, finally, they found the nomad camp. It was in a shambles, all except for one fancy looking tent in the middle. They pulled up outside and shouted the name of the huge nomad leader, "Mustafa! Mustafa Bighorse!" And the big man himself strode out. With great relief, he immediately recognised that they were adventurers from Machodor. He related the story of what had happened; the sudden appearance of the desert, an attack during the night by creatures whose attacks put his clansmen to sleep, how he had fought on until he was the only one left, and how other creatures had dragged everyone away. He was also very relieved to hear from the party that his trollops were safe.

Mustafa joined them on the Skiff and lead them southwest to a sand covered stone structure, the entrance to which he had tracked his people being dragged into. Then he used his magic sword to reveal to the party the entrance to another structure, not far away, that he had also discovered. Huge doors in the sand opened to reveal a vast underground area, large enough to hold the Skiff several times over. He told them that, in legend, his people used to live in such places; but, he had never thought the stories were real.

In wonder, they landed the Skiff at the bottom of a long ramp and closed out the desert. A search found a giant cistern of water; and facilities, long abandoned, that could support a large force. Having only scratched the surface of this new mystery, the party safely spent the night in the sietch and then returned to Minas Mandalf to report what they had found.



Treasure and XP


Cash

Trollops:  700gp 

Monetary XP total = 700gp

Monsters

1 Sandman: 279 XP

Items

Monsters XP Total: 279
Monetary XP Total: 700
Item XP Total: 0
Total: 979 XP

Total of  979 XP Weighted by Level & any Bonus

Karshe (Level 6 ) 489 XP & 350 GP
Primus (Level 4 ) 326 XP & 233 GP
Marty O'Stool (Cleric Level 1) 81 XP & 58 GP
Slap Dashington (Level 1 ) 81 XP & 58 GP






Thursday 8 June 2023

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 21 (Machodor #8); A Trouble with Trolls

     

"Oy! Any o' you lot smell 'orses?"



Introduction


This is the 4th session with the party in the "dungeon" of the crashed Hawkman Sky City, once again trying to find the lost treasure of Ron Ragnar. That's half of the sessions in the Machodor part of the campaign so far; I guess it has become a bit of a mega dungeon itself. But, sometimes, just because you want to go back to the dungeon, doesn't mean you actually can before half the session is over.

Timekeeping


This session took place on 02/June/2023,  and the PCs adventured for 2 days.

Player Characters Present


Giuseppe (Level 4 Paladin from Rome, Brovenloft, E)
Sever (Level 4 Pegasus Corps Ranger of Machodor, E)
Sheamus (Level 3 Irish Fighter from Dublin, Brovenloft, E)
Bumblebore  (Level 1 Magic User, E)


Downtime Summary

The players were mostly keeping a low profile in the Hawkman tower of Luro, leader of the Anti Kenku faction, on level 3 of the Sky City. 


Session Report


Needing reinforcements from the outside world, 3 PCs managed to get back out of the Sky City safely. However, at the bottom of the volcano where they had left their horses (including Giuseppe's Holy Warhorse, and Sever's Pegasus), they heard growls approaching from deeper into the tunnel. Even though the place had proven to be generally safe, it seemed that, finally, monsters had been attracted by the smell of horses.

It was 12 Trolls! Fortunately the party had 1 segment of surprise to evade them, and this they did. I only let them get away with that because they had specifically not hobbled the normal horses, but left them in the care of Bonecrusher and Convess.

Castle Irish was only an hour away. Once there the party of 3 became 4 with the addition of Bumblebore, newly free of a Mr Miyage style training camp run by the Wizard Sarumin the Beastmaster, and his trained Firedrake O'Malfoy. Shaemus decided it was time to call on their allies in the Irish forces, specifically the archers. There were 30 to draw upon; but, since they had no notice, I rolled and found only 20 of them were sober. These did report, however, that they had discovered that the Firedrake blood they had collected in whiskey bottles (Raiders of the Orc Baggage Train) could be used to create instant fire arrows. Handy or what!? Sadly though, being hirelings, they could not go into the 3rd level of the Sky City, as I was counting this a level 4 dungeon.

The players returned to the volcano with the Irish Longbowmen and spent some time scouting out a sheltered draw between two ridges that fanned out from the bottom of the volcano. Here they set up camp, left their mounts, and then went back into the tunnel entrance. I was surprised they didn't go right in after the trolls with the archers; but, apparently, intent on avoiding the trolls, they went into the tunnel and made straight for the stairs. None the less a pair of trolls met them before they could do so. These were dispatched with haste, and, facing the prospect of their fellows still being around later, the party raced back and roused the Irish to battle.

The tunnel was about 35 feet wide, with 20 feet of that given over to a channel for water which ultimately came from the glacier above. They got in formation and prepared the give the Trolls a really bad day. Shaemus and Giuseppe held the front rank with their horses, the Irish made 4 ranks of 5, and Bumblebore brought up the rear. Sever took to the air on Convess, skimming over the surface of the water, and very soon found the main body of 10 Trolls heading their way. The Irish started up up their battle hymn:


"Connor is our battle cry,
McGregor inspires us,
Those who for freedom fall
Never shall die.
Trolls are breaking
Shout we exultant
Trolls are beaten,
Ireland is free.
Charge for the old cause
Down with the old foe,
Living or dying
Brovenloft to free."

The Trolls elected to charge, but lost initiative, so the Irish let loose with pass through fire - to little effect. The charging trolls also lost out to the weapon length of the front rank and so had to take shots from Sheamus' Drewsword and Giuseppe's Lance. Finally, then, the trolls could have a go; and the party's front rank, including Sheamus' horse, took a beating, the poor mount suffered maximum damage from a Claw/Claw/Bight routine, and the fighter suddenly found himself on the ground. Even the much tougher plate-clad Bonecrusher suffered a troll bite. 

Following Bumblebore's orders of "wipe the window" and "clean the tunnel', O'Malfoy flew around behind the trolls - who were in a 4/4/2 formation - and breathed his disgusting, but, highly effective, breath weapon over them.

Now, Sever, who had also flown around behind the trolls, charged in on his Pegasus and opened the score for the good guys with a devastating attack.

Even so, at the end of the first round it was looking like a tough fight for the good guys. However, before we moved on to the next round I remembered that, with the archers having had one shot of pass-through fire, they should still get another shot. The discord dice roller really came to the party at this point, and 13 out of 20 arrows hit their targets, mowing down and burning 4 trolls!

Next round, the party, crucially, again won initiative; the archers used up the last of their Firedrake blood arrows to good effect. Somehow, by the end of the round, the last remaining troll turned to flee, only to be stomped by one of Bonecrusher's hooves before it could do so.

By the end I was feeling bad for the trolls; but this total victory, the result of a steady accumulation of advantages acquired in the previous sessions of play, just so happened to be perfect against them in what was actually a random encounter.

"Victory! To be shure to be shure!"



Now that that was over with, and a well stocked lair had been cleared out, the party could finally get back on with the plan for this session.

They travelled up and into the third level of the Sky City and made their way East, to Luro's tower, again without a problem. They took the opportunity to rest and regain some HP via Giuesppe's Lay on Hands. They then set off, bright and early next morning, and followed the same trail along the forest floor that they had blazed last session. The players had worked up a plan for avoiding the weird bladder grabber creatures in the ground, and for the most part this was successful.


The first thing they encountered was another of the 15' tall bird abominations that they had evaded last session. But this time the party had three segments of surprise(!) and there was only one of the beasts, why not have a crack? 

Thanks to Sever the party was more disciplined than these guys

Despite my encouragement the party stayed on mission, and went on to encounter a number of difference species of huge ground birds. To these they projected an intimidating air and in one case brazenly strolled through over 50 Giant Cranes. Only O'Malfoy's leash prevented a disaster when the little firedrake thought it was lunch time.

The highlight of the night was probably when the party realised they had strolled into the lair of a big bunch of vulchlings. These evil and somewhat intelligent creatures got the same treatment from the party, each one striving to be more intimidating than the last. From a reaction roll of 100 I decided that the monsters were so intimidated that they immediately flew off elsewhere, and the PCs smugly continued on.

Finally the party reached their destination, they could see the replica of Castle Irish on a hill beyond the treeline. They had come out to the south, and the escape tunnel entrance was to its east, so they moved on in that direction. Reaching that point they began to search for it; when, suddenly, there was another Achaieraithingy striding towards them; but, lo, the tunnel entrance could be seen, and they had 1 segment of surprise.

They scrambled on their bellies to get inside and found tunnel remarkably clean, according to Bumblebore (who would know). The realised that it was too late to go further without running out of daylight for Luro and his Hawkmen to attack. So, after waiting for the monsters outside to disperse, they confirmed that everything was as expected, and then returned to Luro's tower; to fight another day.


Treasure and XP


Cash

Trolls: 4000 gp 

Monetary XP total = 4000gp

Monsters

12 Trolls:  9,580XP

Items

Troll blood: ???
Potion of Extra Healing: 400XP

Monsters XP Total: 9,580
Monetary XP Total: 4,000
Item XP Total: 400
Total:13,980

Total of 13,980 XP Weighted by Level & any Bonus

Giuseppe (Level 4 ) 4301 XP & 1230 GP
Sever (Level 4 )  4301 XP &  1230GP
Sheamus (Level 3)  3226 XP & 923 GP
Bumblebore (Level 1 + 1 downtime bonus) 2150 XP & 615 GP





Trollopulous Adjusted Session 61 (Machodor #30);

        Foreshadowing Timekeeping This session took place on 29/02/2024, and the PCs adventured for 1 day. Player Characters Present Giusepp...