Sunday 30 July 2023

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 24 (Machodor #10); The Capture of King Vultan


today's target


The party makes a final assault on the crashed Sky City!


This session took place on 16/June/2023,  and the PCs adventured for 3 days.

Player Characters Present

Godleve (Level 5 Cleric of Machodor, E)
Giuseppe (Level 5 Paladin from Rome, Brovenloft, E)
Sever (Level 4 Pegasus Corps Ranger of Machodor, E)
Sheamus (Level 4 Irish Fighter from Dublin, Brovenloft, E)
Treefingers (Level 4 Pegasus Corps Ranger of Machodor, E)
Slippery Pete (Level 3 Thief of unknown heritage, E)

Downtime Summary

Many of the characters levelled since the last session, increasing their collective power in time to take on some of their toughest enemies yet. Giuseppe, while visiting Guarda, narrowly missed out on a close encounter with Lord Inferno.

Session Report

The session started with an excited discussion about the above, it's a real shame with our shortish 4 hour sessions that I couldn't have let them run wild trying to evacuate all the towns in the Bandit Mountains! That's still a live option for the future though.

The party gathered their things on a fine summer day and set off from Schloss Ragnar to Castle Irish. On the way they encountered a large and well defended Merchant Group. Their flags and livery identified them as the "Osser" (at least that's how they assumed it was pronounced). Upon inquiries the merchants were very happy to divulge that they sold "PeeDee-Fs", whatever they were, and the party was intrigued. This threatened to send the session off onto another tangent, until the PCs determined that the Osser Merchants offered nothing useful for a campaign, and so they moved on.

Retracing their previous route, the party soon found themselves back in the Sky City on level 3; at Luro's base in the wild forest. They went over final plans for coordinating the party's approach and infiltration of Vultan's hunting lodge/castle with Luro's all out assault from the air. Crucially, they found out that the royal guards at the castle were evenly split between their support for the two hawkman factions, and Luro gave the PCs a way to identify themselves to those who might support them. He also offered them a handsome reward, in addition to the items they should recover, if they were successful in getting out with the King alive, and, additionally, offered to pay a bounty on the head of the KENKURIAN, if the party could bring it to him.

The PCs trained for the rest of the day, with newcomers like Treefingers getting a crash course on Hawkman equipment and technology. The next morning they departed quietly and retraced their steps through the jungle. 

PHB Pg 102
Since the party has spent two sessions mapping out a route through the thick jungle, I allowed them to move according to this rule from the PHB, which meant the journey was 5 times faster than before. Later this caused confusion when some players thought this applied in general to wilderness movement; but I saw it as a specific case when it was justified because level 3 of the Sky City was effectively a dungeon level.

After the previous sessions of deadly encounters in the forest, the players were prepared for a tough slog; but, in the end, after just over an hour of quiet trekking, they were ready to re-enter the secret escape tunnel that would lead them from the jungle into the basement of the castle's keep.

Godleve intoned an impressive prayer for the success of their endeavour, and then they went in.

They soon discovered the reason the tunnel was so spotlessly clean, a huge gelatinous cube had made this passage its lair; and the creature nearly would have done for Giuseppe if the rest of the party had not been on hand to destroy the monster.

Once they scraped off the remains of the gooey creature, the party made their way down the long tunnel and into a chamber just beneath the basement of the keep. Where the floor met the far wall from where they stood was a large pile of refuse, and, in the corner of the same wall, a ladder that led up to a barred trap door in the ceiling.

Sever used his Hawkman Helmet to contact Luro and give him the go ahead to attack. The Hawkman acknowledged the message and suggested they contact him again once they had the King clear of the castle.

Slippery Pete moved forward, and, being careful to avoid the refuse pile, he scampered up the ladder to observe what he could of the room above through the barred hatch.

The room was quite different to the same area in Castle Irish, the construction copied by the Hawkmen. It was was 40' by 40' on the floor level, but expanded in tiers as it went up; there was a 10' wide walkway 10' above the floor, this was patrolled by 4 Royal Guards; then another 20' above that, patrolled by 12 more. At floor level were a small number of lizardman slaves, at this moment they were serving King Vultan's four wives their breakfast.

Shortly afterwards Pete had to scamper back down the ladder as one of the Lizardman carried a bucket of refuse in his direction. The Lizardman also came down the ladder and, from as far away as possible, threw the refuse on top of the pile; which seemed to move as they slave did so.

Slippery Pete took out his trump card, a Potion of Invisibility, and had a small sip. Previously, when I had looked up this potion in the DMG, I was surprised to find out the specifics;

So, although he had 8 possible gulps, the clock was ticking from this point on the first one. He followed the Lizardman back up and managed to get into the basement room without making a sound. Peering within the silvery curtains that prevented prying eyes from seeing into the centre of the room, he could see the bored hawk women lazing about on a raised dais and chatting. Above them was a large, clear, cylinder, filled with a strange liquid, and surrounding the unconscious and badly burned King Vultan. Godleve would later rightly conclude that, without healing magic, this sort of thing was the best the Hawkmen could do. The women began talking about the KENKURIAN and gave away his location a few floors above.

Suddenly, klaxons sounded and it was clear that Luro's attack had reach the castle. Immediately, the 12 royal guards on the highest tier went up stairwells that were in each corner of the room, leaving only the 4 on the lower tier remaining.

Now pushed for time, Slippery Pete tried to pick the lock on the large chest; but, unfortunately, only succeeded in getting jabbed by a poison needle that suddenly flew out of the lock mechanism. He had a flashback to something Luro had mentioned about the kind of poison this could be....

Bad as it was, the poison wasn't fast acting, and SP could still take actions; as he dodged around the hawk women, he spotted one with a key hanging from a strap on her belt. 

At that moment a klaxon sounded, Luro's attack had begun! 12 of the Royal Guard left to help defend the keep. The women ran around in a panic...

This is what the remainder of the party had been waiting for, and Sever led them up the ladder and into the room. There were four guards remaining, the ones on the lower of the two levels, ten feet above the floor. As soon as they saw the party, the PCs gave out their impression of Luro's bird call signal; in response two of the guards turned their weapons on the others!

The guards were armed with a larger version of the Hawkman hand crossbow, and the two loyal ones shot at the party before they could disperse into the room. The weapons were not simply large, they had a different function more suited to protecting the King, a 10' diameter save or be paralysed for 1 turn. 

In a flash, half the party were out of the fight! Sever had managed to dodge and now he charged up the ladder to the royal guard on the left while Shaemus, followed by Godleve, went for the one on the right. 

The fight was brutal and the royal guards were tough, and while it was going on, Slippery Pete - still invisible - managed to pick pocket the key. One of the other hawk women had a remote control of some kind, with it she was trying to lower the tube containing the body of King Vultan; as she did so another flourished a nasty looking potion and readied to make him drink it. Slippery Pete struck at her hand, becoming visible and causing her to drop the potion; even so, the container survived its item saving through and it skittered along the floor. The women fled shrieking from the combat and soon he had the box open and was stuffing everything inside into a sack (which he later tried to make off with but that's another story).

They could hear the sounds of battle outside as they gathered around the still comatose King Vultan and worked out what to do next.

...right into an Aerial Mass Battle!

A quick search revealed a hawkman Rocket Cycle behind a curtain, which screened a chimney in the north wall. Immediately they decided this was the way to escape, and soon they piled on with the King Vultan strapped to the side. Before doing so they relieved him of the sword and mace he carried. Shaemus had previously spent many hours training for this moment, and he soon mastered the simple controls. 

Slowly they ascended via the chimney, busted open a cover at the top, and then found themselves in the middle of fire-fight at the top of the keep. They accelerated away from the keep and the Royal Guards there...

Hundreds of Hawkmen and Kenku filled the sky blasting away at each other, many more than the battle the PCs had witnessed between them a few sessions ago. At some point I will write up a full description of how I used the rules from the DMG to facilitate this battle, the somewhat wordy paragraphs really do boil down to a playable game; but I'm already falling behind in session reports so it remains on my to do list. 

Although he was the aggressor, not everything was going to plan for Luro; even having secretly amassed a larger than usual force for this attack, what he didn't know was that a new faction had developed in the Sky City.

New faction Leaders.

Unknown to anyone, the dead 'Old Ones' found by the PCs were not the only ones of their kind disturbed when the Sky City crashed into the glacier and the side of the volcano; and, those others were not all dead! The alien creatures had taken up residence in the southern quadrant of the city, and for some time had been psionically dominating both the Kenku and Hawkmen that had entered that area; their Id Insinuation on a defeated foe translated into weeks of total control, and they had seeded these minions within the forces of the Pro and Anti Kenku factions, having them siphon information. And now they had chosen this moment to strike. 

As soon as the party's Rocket Cycle appeared, a force of Kenku and Old Ones moved in to engage; but, fortunately, Luro was expecting to have to cover their escape, and was ready; just not against a force such as this.

As the party were acting on their own and not ordering the Hawkman forces of Luro, I rolled as per mass battle rules, but their actions were limit to normal attacks and movement. 

This battle was not only aerial, it was also Psionic, and it was clear that the Old Ones were on to them as a large group, backed up by Kenku, made a b-line for the Rocket Cycle.

The party opened fire with the hawkman ranged weapons, with lighting and paralysis taking a terrible toll on the Kenku carrying the Old Ones (the Old Ones can fly but not that fast) who, because of this, were much closer together than in previous fights against Luro's faction, where they were more spread out.

Next round multiple segments of the Old Ones' Psionic Attacks landed on Luro's forces, but, as none of the PC's were psionic, they were immune to this. Perhaps the Old Ones expected otherwise as they seemed unprepared to be fired upon; and they actually lost one of their number, I think to Treefingers. This loss then precipitated a full retreat; Luro, and the PCs, had won the day!

Treasure and XP

Cash (12,000gp)

Jewellery (2): 1000 gp Seal, 1000 gp Ring, Total Value: 2000 gp.
5000 in Hawkman gold ingots (10,000 gp)


Gelatinous Cube: 270XP
2 Hawkman Royal Guards: 810XP
9 2HD Kenku: 414XP
1 Old One: 950XP


(Note: Items Identified for free curtesy of professor Dorol in return for the "Old One" body)

Club of the Dive +2 (Stats as a footman's mace, once per 10 rounds will inflict double damage on a hit when the command word 'DIVE!" is shouted) 800xp [Currently with Godleve]
Leather Armour +2 600XP [Currently with Slippery Pete]
Longsword Sword +2, Red Dragon Slayer (can detect the presence of a Red Dragon within 1 mile outdoors) 900xp [Currently with Giuseppe]
Medium Shield +3 (Meteorite Iron) 800xp [Currently with Slippery Pete]
Philtre of Persuasiveness,  400xp [Currently with Slippery Pete]
Silken Wings of Flying 750xp [Currently with Slippery Pete]
Scroll of Protection -- Breath Weapons, Dragon 2000xp [Currently with Slippery Pete]
Potion of Power -- This strange alchemic blend of the Hawkmen will revive someone from even near death to fight for 1-3 turns, as well as acting as a potion of heroism while in effect (afterwards the imbiber returns to his previous state, unless otherwise healed). Usable by any class. 450xp [Currently with Slippery Pete]

Hawkman Rocket Cycle (Note that currently there is no way to remove this from the Sky City!) 500XP
2 Hawkmen "Heavy Crossbows" 800XP [One with Godleve, one with Treefingers (trained by the Hawkmen)]

Monsters Total: 2,444XP
Monetary Total: 12,000XP
Item Total: 8,000XP
Total XP: 22,444

Total of  22,444 XP Weighted by Level 
Godleve (Level 5 ) 4488 XP & 2400 GP
Giuseppe (Level 5 ) 4488 XP & 2400 GP
Sever (Level 4 ) 3591 XP & 1920 GP
Sheamus (Level 4 ) 3591 XP & 1920 GP
Treefingers (Level 4 ) 3591 XP & 1920 GP
Slippery Pete (Level 3 ) XP Maxed & 1440 GP

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