Friday 18 August 2023

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 33 (Machodor #14); Rust Monster Rastle

          


Foreshadowing



Timekeeping


This session took place on 28/July/2023,  and the PCs adventured for 2 days.

Player Characters Present


Godleve (Level 5 Cleric of Machodor, S)
Giuseppe (Level 5 Paladin from Rome, Brovenloft, E)
Sever (Level 5 Pegasus Corps Ranger of Machodor, E)
Sheamus (Level 4 Irish Fighter from Dublin, Brovenloft, E)
Peachy Kean (Level 1, Druid, E)
Paro the Effluvious (Level 1/1 Dwarf Fighter/Thief, E,E)

Downtime 


The whittling knife pickup from the Fire Giants last session turned out to be an Intelligent 2hs that sounds like Sean Connery. Sever was pretty happy with this find as you can imagine.

I rolled 100 on this table (DMG p166)


Session Report


In the steaming cavern 600 feet below the glaciered cyclopean city at the centre of the extinct volcano, things were a little different to last time. The giant worms, previously content to sit in their holes and consume the glowing fungus when it dropped from the ceiling, had transformed; now being both shorter and narrower, but still huge, they could be seen actively patrolling the areas around the 5 holes, each of which, the party knew, lead somewhere below.

Previously they had established that two of the holes, after passing through spiralling tunnels of porous black rock, joined up with an ancient lava tube below. This tube, 300 feet wide and 100 feet high, appeared to lead directly to the active volcano and lair of their quarry; Lord Inferno, the red dragon. Now, with the cave worms active, the PCs could could choose from any of the holes, so long as they were careful to avoid the worms themselves. They decided to take the opportunity to explore each of the holes they had not yet explored. All told this exploration expended most of a day, and, what they found was that all the holes came out in the lava tunnel below at various points; some closer, and some further, than the others they had explored previously. They chose to use the western hole, which they now knew joined the lava tube further north than any of the others (and past the location blocked by a Firenewt fort).

Hours later they emerged and then retraced their path along the lava tube, as far the lair of the Fire Giants they defeated last session. They did not check in on the lair, but kept advancing until they reached another Firenewt fort, about a mile up the lava tunnel. Here they explored the walls of the tunnel; looking for the secret wall that the Lava People, who they encountered last week, said would be there. Between Paro and Sever (his new sword detected such things) they easily found and opened a hidden door. It led to a short corridor with another movable wall at its end. Beyond this they were no longer in a natural cave, but halls of cleanly finished cut stone; of dwarf make according to Paro.

The entry was a small 20' by 20' room, and immediately there were some choices to make, as there were exits north, east, and south. The south was a narrow tunnel, too small to accommodate the Rocket Cycle; but, with a bit of man (and dwarf) handling, they could take it either north; in which a corridor stretched out beyond the limits of their light; or east, which immediately became a stair that went down, one level, and then also continued beyond the range of the light.

They chose north and soon found a short passage branching off to the east which lead into a 30 by 30 foot room. Leaving Convess the Pegasus and the Rocket Cycle in the corridor, they moved in to investigate the room. Sheamus wanted to "take the keys" so no one could steal the rocket cycle, but I pointed out that the style of technology just required pushing the "go button", there were no keys. However, since Sheamus had been learning all about the repair and maintenance of the vehicle in his down time, I allowed that he could disable the start mechanism - this would prove to be important later.

As soon as they all piled into the room they noticed odd vertical rails in the corners, just in time for a door to slide down and shut them in as the whole room to descended one level! Paro made a call here that this was nothing to be alarmed at, but a standard feature of dwarf mining operations. It's always amusing for a DM when players make such calls, as Godleve's player has done this several times, and later been proved spookily accurate.

After some experimentation, eventually the lift room stopped moving 4 floors down. There was an obvious exit corridor here, that lead into a open cut quarry. Examination showed it to be a played out Mithril mine. At the far end of the quarry was a ladder bolted to the wall which went up 40' to another level.

Sever shimmied up the ladder, and this is where the fun began. At the top of the ladder was a large asymmetrical area about 60' square, another level of the played out mine. Spread out through the room were 4 (!) Rust Monsters, and for once Sever's luck failed him and they surprised him for one segment. At this point I needed to work out exactly where the creatures were, so I used 2d6 to plot them across a 6 by 6 Grid of 10' squares on the map. The result was that one was right on top of Sever, another was within charging range in the surprise segment, and the other two were not but they charged anyway.

I considered that his armour (ancient field plate won in Castle Von Necro all the way back in Machodor #1) was a more likely target than his new intelligent sword; but, if and when the armour was destroyed, the sword would be next! He was in big trouble, but managed to escape the surprise segment with his skin, and sword, intact; but alas the priceless armour was no more. Sever was justly displeased at this turn of events, but retained the presence of mind to remove his new sword and toss it down to Sheamus, yelling "Rust Monsters!" as he did. The Irish fighter began removing his armour as fast as possible - which I ruled would take 3 rounds in an emergency such as this (is this in Unearthed Arcana?). 


Sever then went WWF on the nearest Rust Monster, while the others moved to help out. Peachy, a druid with no metal items to speak of, suddenly seemed like the perfect opponent for these creatures and he scampered up the ladder first; followed by Giuseppe, who was looking to use his bow and keep his armour (and Dragonslayer sword!) intact; and then Paro and Godleve. Seriously, who throws Rust Monsters at a party that worked for weeks to secure a weapon tailored to defeat their sworn foe? (That's rhetorical, and the beauty of Appendix A)

Next round the party won initiative and Sever made the most of the freedom of movement being unarmoured granted him; a base 100% chance of success on the grappling attempt. Though the Rust Monster was faster, it couldn't evade and the result on the Grappling table was exactly enough to stun the beast. Peachy discovered that his club was not as useful against the Rust Monster's solid hide as he would have liked. Giuseppe reassessed the situation and ran for the far end of the room, to give himself room to fire his bow; but, unfortunately for him, as far as the Rust Monsters were concerned second breakfast just ran by. However, having already charged, they were only able to close the distance in the remainder of the round. Next round all three would be on him like white on rice.

The party won initiative again and Sever hurled the stunned Rust Monster over the edge of the nearby pit, to a 40' drop; missing a still stripping Sheamus on the way down. Giuseppe thought again about using his bow against the 3 Rust Monsters coming his way, and went to escape up the ladder behind him. This gave the monsters 6 attacks at his back and I was dumbfound to find all 6 missed, his armour (and sword) lived to fight another day. 
Not as smart as Sever
Another round or so passed with another Rust Monster getting the angry Sever treatment, which was so successful the others joined in. Only Godleve paid the price of losing his armour to rust in the process. Sever heaved another stunned Rust Monster over the side and the others were pounded into oblivion once the huge Sheamus joined in - having finally shed his armour the round before.

They cleaned themselves up and bagged some Rust Monster guts, the only thing they found in the mine that could possibly qualify as treasure.

The decision of which direction to go next was made for them when they heard the sound of a panicked whinny from the north, behind the door on the platform Giuseppe had climbed. Had random monsters happened upon the Pegasus and the Rocket Cycle!? (Yes, they had)

They raced after the sounds and found the dwarf hewn corridor spilled out into a natural cavern of immense proportions. Ahead, the stone footing narrowed to a bridge like section that stretched beyond the light over an abyss below. Just before this, where the floor extended out in a triangle shape, like a landing for the bridge; was Convess, hovering over a group of short, ugly creatures that were screaming up at the Pegasus "Nork!". There were over 40 of the monsters, but they had not yet noticed the party approaching from behind them (with 2 segments of surprise). Later I realised, thanks to Paro's player, that I was wrong to give the players double melee attacks during this period. Lucky break for them.

DMG page 62



With half the party practically naked they still charged in and wreaked havoc; but with their melee weapons alone there was only so much damage they could inflict. Paro threw two lit flasks of oil as he approached, at a range where he couldn't miss given the number and concentration of the monsters; this caused equal amounts of damage and confusion in the enemy.

So, surprise was accounted for with the party inflicting just under 20 percent casualties on the enemy; not quite enough to provoke a morale check, yet. 

The next round was a master class of AD&D shield use, particularly those for whom it was their only form of protection. Lined up as they were, only 3 attackers could reach each party member, and damage was exchanged on both sides; the PCs were holding together for now. Sever called Convess down to help in the battle.
This rule, from PHB p104/105 is not mentioned at all in the DMG

Finally, with some of the party trying to retreat back into the corridor, the enemy broke and ran off to the south east, screaming "Nork!" as they ran. The PCs were not interested in pursuing them.

By following Paro's very accurate dwarf direction sense, they managed to find their way back to the Rocket Cycle by an easier route, and, by being lucky on another hastily made up d12 table, they were able to back it out and return home without further incident.

Didn't have time to finished this but I rolled a 2



Treasure and XP


Trollopulous Adjusted Session 33 (Machodor #14)

Monetary Treasure

none

Monsters

4 Rust Monsters 1210 XP
17 Nork-ers  421 XP

Items

Bag of Rust Monster parts (Professor Dorol has left a representative in Schloss Ragnar, he gives you 105gp for the parts)

Monsters Total: 1631 XP
Treasure Total: 105


XP & GP Assignment Weighted by Level Shares & any bonuses
Giuseppe (Level 5 ) 272 XP & 25 GP
Godleve (Level 5 ) 272 XP & 25 GP
Sheamus (Level 4 ) 272 XP & 20 GP
Peachy Kean (Level 1) 272 XP & 5 GP
Sever (Level 5 ) 272 XP & 25 GP
Paro (Level 1)  272 XP & 5 GP






Monday 14 August 2023

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 32 (Machodor #13); Finally, some loot!


That's what its all about

Introduction


The last couple of sessions have yielded little treasure or XP for the party; though they have learned much and gathered a surfeit of intelligence, none of this can quite make up for the lack of loot.

Timekeeping


This session took place on 21/July/2023,  and the PCs adventured for 1 day.

Player Characters Present


Giuseppe (Level 5 Paladin from Rome, Brovenloft, E)
Sever (Level 5 Pegasus Corps Ranger of Machodor, E)
Sheamus (Level 4 Irish Fighter from Dublin, Brovenloft, E)
Bumblebore (Level 2 Magic User, E)
Dusty (Level 1 Dwarf Thief, DNF)
Slippery Pete (Level 4 Thief, E)
Paro the Effluvious (Level 1/1 Dwarf Fighter/Thief, E,S)

Downtime & News Summary


Nothing heard from the Osser Merchants of note. Slippery Pete and Dusty Angus pulled of a downtime heist that netted them 400 lbs of black powder from the Pegasus Corps 6th Company supply depot.

Bumblebore went to Minas Mandalf and learned a new spell, and had a city encounter which brought him face to face with a Dragon Cultist.

Session Report


The party retraced their path to the chamber deep in the centre of the dormant volcano to the north east of Castle Irish.

Now Slippery Pete decided to come clean and tell the rest of the party that he had stashed the 400 lbs of explosive black powder on the Rocket Cycle; good thing there were no dangerous encounters on the way! Anyhow, after some discussion, they decided to deploy this by piling up a huge mound of the glowing fungus to draw out the giant cave worm from its hole, lighting the fuse; then, BOOM!

The massive explosion more than did the trick, like a whale on an Oregon beach, and bits of cave worm were blown all around. But the shockwave didn't end there, it carried the force of the explosion all the way to the ceiling of the cave and dislodged massive amounts of the glowing fungus that grew there.

That fungus, which until now the PCs had been very careful not to let touch their skin, was landing in clumps all over the place. I asked everyone not in full armour to make a saving throw, and this was followed by a number of groans, a sure indicator of failure. The fungus immediately sank into any exposed skin; but, the only effect they could notice was a reduction in any surface abrasions they made have already had. Then the penny dropped, the fungus was healing them! It was by no means an efficient source of healing; they later calculated that a whole sack of the stuff could heal 1d4 damage and, possibly, may have other benefits. They would have to report to Professor Dorol that, somehow, exposure to the magical living fire had granted the fungus these unusual properties.

With the worm gone, the funnel like cavity that was its lair could be seen clearly. It descending far into the earth, many hundreds of yards, corkscrewing around and around and narrowing as it went. Eventually, the funnel terminated below the volcano itself in a wide volcanic cavity, formed untold aeons ago, that they had started to explore in a previous session. 

Lava in the centre of the passage provided sufficient light to see by, and the party learned from last week that Continual Light had a downside in that it made them much easier to see. This week they opted to navigate by the light of the lava only. Choosing the right, or eastern, side of the passage; they continued on wearily.

After a few hundred yards the group halted when they spotted some obstacle ahead that blocked the way. Sever opted to glide in with Convess, using the radiating heat from the lava channel to provide lift, and this worked to his advantage; ahead he spotted a fortress, one that filled the passage completely from top to bottom. The fortress featured a huge portcullis 100' wide, and through this the lava stream passed unhindered from one side of the fort to the other. There were two rows of battlements stretching from wall to wall, one 40' off the ground and one 20' above that, and in the centre of this higher battlement was a fixed ballista emplacement, manned by Firenewts. The ranger got surprise and used it to swing around and return to the party, unseen by the enemy.

I'd gone to the trouble to work out exactly how bad a ballista strike on the Pegasus, or the Rocket Cycle, would be; and it would be bad let me tell you.

Slippery Pete quaffed a sip of invisibility potion and went to investigate the fort. He had considerable hope there would be a secret door some place along the wall on this side of the lava; but, no luck, he found himself reaching the portcullis without having found any such thing. Through the portcullis he could see a large squad of mounted Firenewts getting ready, their giant striders actually standing happily in the lava stream, waiting to get going. The thief scanned all over and found that the the fortress was about 100' deep, with a matching portcullis on its far side. 

Soon the portcullis near him started to open, prompting concern that perhaps Sever had been spotted after all, Slippery Pete used the portcullis as a ride up to the lower battlements, and the patrol passed by the party without noticing them. 

The session became the Slippery Pete show for a while, he made his way into the structure, exploring much of it, and I wondered if the rest of the party would aggressively exploit his penetration of the fort's defences; but, no. SP made his way through several levels of the place, killed a Firenewt grunt sleeping on a bunk, but made little headway other than being able to estimate the garrison numbered around 100.

While the rest of the party hunkered down, Paro chose to make himself useful by searching for secret doors in the walls of the lava tube. Eventually this paid dividends as, when a section of wall slid open, he was looking right at it...

and this is what was looking back at the Dwarf 

The others were ready to shoot first and ask questions later, but Paro blurted out, "I hate the Fire King!" or something like that, which was close enough to something these creatures agreed with, so a parley was possible. This was just as well, as the Lava People declared themselves to be enemies of the Firenewts, who, they helpfully pointed out, maintained forts every few miles along the lava tunnel route, all the way until it reached a Firenewt city directly below the active volcano; where they worshiped their "God" called Inferno.

Once Giuseppe had pinged these guys with "Detect Evil", and they came up negative, everyone was happy to trust them; even though the creatures then proceeded to chow down on the lava right in front of them.

Once they'd had their fill, the party's new friends offered to let them use the side passages they knew of to bypass the Firenewt Fort, and this they did; first, blindfolding the Pegasus, so it would enter the narrow space. The Rocket Cycle posed a different problem, it could barely fit; and they were forced to physically push it through some tight spaces as they went.

They avoided some encounters by staying quiet and keeping their lights dimmed, and, some hours later, emerged back in the main lava tunnel. It looked much the same as the section they had left; but the fort was out of sight to the south west.

They bid good bye to the leader of the Lava Eaters, Igneous, who wished them well and suggested that he had kin further up the lava tube who might aid them in getting past the next fort; a mile or so north. The party wished to reward them with a gift, but the dagger offered by Bumblebore passed right through the hand of the chuckling Lava Eater, who politely declined the offer.

As the party continued North East, they spied an oval shaped hole in the wall on the other side of the lava flow tunnel. It looked much like the one they had used to reach the tunnel some miles back; would this one lead back up to the cave with the giant worms? If so it could be a handy shortcut. There was only one way to find out; but, for now, they continued on.

Later, as they advanced, they heard the approach of heavy footsteps coming from directly ahead. Thanks to Ranger OP'ness, they got 3 segments of surprise; only to hide and watch as a trio of Fire Giants strode past. Moments stretched out as each resisted a little voice saying "Think of how much damage you could do to them in 3 surprise segments! Imagine the loot in those packs they are carrying!" (it was my voice, and they ignored it)

However, this did not mean that Giants weren't on the menu, Sever used is his OP tracking ability to follow their foot prints all the way back to the creatures' lair. This turned out to be several hundred yards north; but, eventually, a concealed side passage opened up on their side of the tunnel.

Bumblebore offered to send O'Malfoy in to scout. The party agreed and it turned out to be a wise move, for everyone but Bumblebore; for whom the death of the little familiar would just about mean death for him. After a short distance the Firedrake-let ran into a Fire Giant going to relieve himself. Fortunately, he was not noticed, and Bumblebore ordered him back before the aggressive little creature started a fight, "Master, I can take him!"

The narrow passage was tall, but not wide enough to accommodate the Rocket Cycle or Convess; the Giants themselves must have had to turn sideways to get in and out. 

Luckily no hell hounds at home this time
With their blood up to finally score some loot, the party moved in to the narrow tunnel, carefully sidestepping the pungent puddle not far in, and then continued for a short distance before finding the lair. It was a roughly circular cave, strewn with pelts and such accoutrements that giants like. There were two occupants at home in there; one, snoring, and the other whittling away with a large blade at a piece of wood .

The party charged in, hoping for surprise, and they got 2 segments. 

The fighter types went for the whittling Fire Giant, while Slippery Pete went to try and snuff out the sleeping one before he could awaken. As the giant was helpless, this gave the thief a roll on the Assassination table; but, sadly for him, his dagger was not enough to do the job, some few measly hit points were shaved off the giant's total. Pete knew life was going to be difficult next round.

Meanwhile the combined attack from the rest of the party killed that Giant during the surprise segments. The next initiative roll was going to be crucial, since the last remaining Fire Giant was glaring down at Slippery Pete with murder in his eyes.

The party lost initiative, and Slippery Pete said his prayers as the 11HD Giant swung at him, needing about a 7 to hit; and, he got a 3. With great relief the rest of the party descended on the Fire Giant and beat him down in one round. 

UPDATE: This battle also saw Bumblebore deploy Macho Mandalf's Flying Elbow for the very first time in the campaign, he rolled exactly high enough to achieve a stun result!

They looted the place and returned to civilisation via the other ascending tunnel they had previously discovered; which did indeed take them, after a long journey of twists and turns, to the steamy cave above. There they quickly mastered the art of making a giant cave worm leave its hole, but from the opposite side this time.

Treasure and XP


Trollopulous Adjusted Session 32 (Machodor #13)


Monetary Treasure

6000sp
2000gp
100 gp Pearl.
10 gp Moss Agate.
80 gp Chrysoprase.
5000 gp Diamond.

Monsters

1 Giant cave worm 3100
1 Steam Mephit 240
2 Fire Giants 6936
1 Fire newt grunt 117
3 Blindheims 670

Items

2 Handed Sword with grinning wolf's jaw hilt 700XP (this turned out to be a real find)

Monsters Total: 11,973 XP
Treasure Total: 8190 XP & 7490GP


XP & GP Assignment Weighted by Level Shares & any bonuses
Giuseppe (Level 5 ) 3099 XP & 1783 GP
Sheamus (Level 4 ) 3099 XP & 1426 GP
Bumblebore (Level 2) 2029  XP & 713 GP
Sever (Level 5 ) 3799 XP & 1783 GP
Slippery Pete (Level 4 ) 5,950 XP  & 1426 GP
Paro (Level 1)  1672 XP & 356 GP






Monday 7 August 2023

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 29 (Machodor #12); Rumble in the Tunnel

        


Timekeeping


This session took place on 07/July/2023,  and the PCs adventured for 1 day.

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)
Bumblebore (Level 2 Magic User, E)
Dusty  (Level 1 Dwarf Thief, E)
Repugnus the Repentant (Level 1 Cleric, E)

Downtime & News


In the last few weeks the Osser Merchants, growing in number, had set up a staging area and trading post on the plains below Schloss Ragnar. The well-to-do merchant caravans soon attracted the attention of local thieves, who raided one and made off with untold thousands of gold coins. Later, word got out that the coins were "Paraguayan Guarani" and only worth 1/8000th of a Gold Macho (the coin of the Realm). When the merchant's mercenary troops heard this, they rioted, knowing that there could never have been enough money in the coffers to pay them what they were owed. Other companies also demanded proof that the Osser products, mostly what they called "PeeDee-Fs" earned them enough to live in a first world nation such as Machodor.

what could it mean?
Professor Dorol had been busy examining the strange fungus the party found. He concluded that the party was correct to assume it glowed due to absorbing this strange energy they were calling "Magical Fire. Dorol now calls it the "living fire". Using a phantasmal force spell, he showed them how the fungus interacts with other living particles as seen with his Eye of Minute Seeing. What effect this had on full sized creatures, he could only guess. Using the remaining fungus, he had made 4 wands that can detect the presence of the "Fire". He made a show of holding them out to the party, one in each hand.

Session Report


Though the robbery did draw some interest, the party have become laser focussed on finding the lair of the Red Dragon, Lord Inferno; so, flying on a Rocket Cycle and with Sever on his Pegasus, they retraced their path to the chamber deep in the centre of the dormant volcano to the north east of Castle Irish.

Having previously observed the Firenewts gain access to further tunnels by luring out a giant cave worm, that lived in one, using large quantities of the glowing fungus they apparently lived on; the party repeated the process exactly, careful not to touch the fungus, and found that this worked for them as well. The funnel like cavity that was revealed was far larger than the giant worm, and descended into the earth many hundreds of yards, corkscrewing around and around, and narrowing as they followed it down. A group of hungry mynocks set upon the rocket cycle, but they were soon destroyed by the wary party. Eventually, the funnel terminated below the volcano in a wide chamber running from north east to south west.


A vast volcanic cavity formed untold aeons ago, the lava tube was roughly 300 feet wide and 100 feet high. As they began to follow it they soon noted the centre of the passage held a narrow groove, about 2 feet deep, with a very small amount of lava at the bottom. 


As they advanced, this artificial seeming structure gradually widened and deepened until, after mile or so, the shaft was 100 feet wide (about a third the width of the entire passage) and nearly filled with lava to an unknown depth.


The bright lava lit the centre of the passage well; but, with the party sporting many Continual Light items, they did not concern themselves with a natural source of light. Choosing the right, or eastern, side of the passage; they continued on wearily.


they were not alone...



Hovering, Invisible, over the lava in the centre of the passage; three Firenewt Elite Magi could easily see the party approaching. They quickly agreed on a plan to defeat the intruders, and sprang to attack.

Two of the Magi cast Charm Person: one on Sever, who was at the front with his Pegasus; and one on Shaemus, who was driving the Rocket Cycle. I asked the players to simply roll a d20, as their characters had no idea what was happening. Sever passed his saving throw, and Shaemus failed.

The third Magi cast Darkness and, just like that, all the party's exposed Continual Light items were snuffed out; plunging the Rocket Cycle riders into pitch black night. The Magi called out for Sheamus to do something (land in the lava perhaps); but, as the fighter did not know their language, and, in the darkness, had no way to know what he was being asked, or even that he was being asked to do something; he chose to start descending in the Rocket Cycle, giving no indication yet that he had been charmed.

Sever, the only one not in darkness, spotted one of the Magi and moved to attack; but, unfortunately for him, the party lost initiative and the 3 creatures became Invisible again. Sever charged anyway and pulled off a miraculous hit on the invisible Firenewt, embedding his lance deeply into the creature's body. To his horror; the creature, still very much alive, held on to the lance. Even worse, the wound itself began to show signs of healing. Regeneration!

One of the other Magi cast Sleep into the darkness; catching Dusty and Bumblebore in the spell's area of effect. The magic user, who had previously sent his familiar, O'Malfoy, to help Sever; and the dwarf both began what they hoped would be a short nap.

Godleve pulled out a spare Continual Light gem he had prepared earlier, and they could see again; but, this was something of a mixed blessing, as the Firenewt who had charmed Sheamus used this opportunity to draw its clawed thumb across its throat, and then point to the other PCs on the Rocket Cycle. Now Shaemus got the message, and he felt compelled to obey; little did I know, at this point, how strong this compulsion would prove to be! He swung his deadly Drewsword at Godleve, and missed.

Oblivious to this development, Giuseppe and Repugnus shook awake Dusty and Bumblebore.

Catching on quickly, Repugnus cast Command on Shaemus; ordering him to "Surrender". Knowing this spell only lasts 1 round, Giuseppe stepped up and removed the fighter's weapons; hoping to render him incapable of doing too much damage to the party next round.

Godleve fired his Hawkman crossbow at the closest Firenewt, missing; but, the attempt did convince the creature that the cleric was a serious threat.

Sever, Convess, and the wounded Magi exchanged heavy blows; until the latter was killed and fell into the lava below. "Next!" shouted the Ranger, who then turned to engage the nearest enemy. Soon, with help from O'Malfoy, he had forced another Firenewt Magi to assume gaseous form, and flee. The last one had managed to turn invisible again; and was out there, somewhere, presumably waiting for the moment to strike.

From here things got a bit crazy


Sheamus, aware of his orders, but finding himself without any weapons; never-the-less did his best to comply. He reached for the handlebars of the Rocket Cycle, and tried to tip the whole thing sideways! 

As the only active "enemy" Sheamus' player started rolling for initiative for the other side, and won!

He flipped the Rocket Cycle onto its side, and the PCs scrambled to hold onto something; Dusty & Bumblebore failed and fell down to the surface below. Now, how high was this fall? They had started the fight 60' off the ground (having noted the 50' range of their enemies from last session), but Shaemus had declared he was trying to lower the Cycle - even though he was charmed he had probably descended some of the way at least. 

I decided that their current altitude would be a d6 * 10 feet; with a 6 meaning roll again. I got a 6, then another 6, then a 2. This meant that the two PCs who fell would take 2d6 damage, and I came up with 7 damage in total. Somehow, both of the low level characters survived their fall; but, Sheamus wasn't close to done. This was getting out of hand!

With no visible opponent, Sever used his mount to get under and right the Rocket Cycle, and then it was Sheamus' turn to think of something else; which he did. Previously, he had established that the cycle had a boost acceleration function that would send it off at double normal speed, and now he went to push it!

The other PCs' response went like this: Giuseppe attempted a grapple and failed, triggering a return grapple from Sheamus, who also failed. Repugnus then tried to grapple, he failed, the return grapple from Sheamus succeeded this time; and this is where we found out that Shaemus is a BIG Irish lad; 6' 7" and (I think) 285lbs. He K.O.'d Repugnus. With little dignity the cleric collapsed; and lets just say his chances of a future dynasty, already poor given his Charisma, were now in grave doubt. Still standing after all this, Shaemus announced that, as planned, he would activate the booster acceleration on the Rocket Cycle.

So Shaemus goes to hit the boosters, and at the same time Giuseppe goes to hit the breaks. What to do? It was time for a quick d12 table.


I rolled a 6


In an anti-climax, the Rocket Cycle began a slow shunt back the way they had come (Sheamus had turned it at some point). Like driving with the hand-break on, according to Giuseppe's player.

Giuseppe and Sheamus continued trade blows, this time using the Pummelling rules. The Paladin got the better of the exchange; but the fighter just wouldn't quit. O'Malfoy bit one of Sheamus' fingers to stop him hitting any more buttons, which worked for the moment. While this is going on, Godleve kept a lookout for the last Elite Magi; ready to shoot it with his definitely-ok-for-a-cleric-to-use Hawkman heavy crossbow. 

Eventually, convinced that the last monster had fled, Godleve skillfully dropped off the cycle to the ground and went to heal the wounded. Sever, fed up with this shit, flew up on Convess and attacked Shaemus; but missed. The  Elite Magi, who had not fled, then cast Darkness; near (but not on, so he stayed invisible) Dusty, just to make life difficult down there for him, Bumblbore, and Godleve.

Having failed on his first attack, Sever swung around for another; this time using the combined weight of Pegasus and rider to Overbear Shaemus. Yes, we had all 3 types of AD&D weaponless combat in this fight! Sheamus couldn't dodge this, and even his great size provided no benefit; he was knocked off the cycle, taking a combination of overbear & falling damage. He was also stunned for one round; but, with lots of hit points still, he was not out of the fight.

Bumblebore then cast sleep, mercifully getting Sheamus; but, also Repugnus, who was just regaining consciousness (perhaps also a blessing for him, since that knee to the groin had to be still hurting)

Finally then, with no further sign of the enemy, they trussed Sheamus like a pig and returned home the way they came. Later, Godleve would memorise Dispel Magic and free the fighter from the Charm Person spell.

Treasure and XP

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 29(Machodor #12);

Cash 

none

Monsters

6 Mynocks 378xp
1 Firenewt Elite Magi 1080xp

Items

none

Monsters Total: 1458 XP
Monetary Total: 0 XP
Item Total: 0 XP
Total XP: 1458 

Total of  1458 XP & 0 GP Weighted by Level 
Godleve (Level 5 ) 316 XP & 0 GP
Giuseppe (Level 5 ) 316 XP & 0 GP
Sever (Level 5 ) 316 XP & 0 GP
Sheamus (Level 4, absolutely deserved more! ) 253 XP & 0 GP
Bumblebore (Level 2) 126 XP & 0 GP
Regpugnus (Level 1 ) 63 XP  & 0 GP
Dusty  (Level 1)  63 XP & 0 GP







Saturday 5 August 2023

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 26 (Machodor #11); Under the Volcano

New transport


Introduction


Having secured the treasure of Ron Ragnar; including a Dragonslayer sword and a Protection from Dragon Breath scroll, the party moves on in search of Lord Inferno's lair.

Timekeeping


This session took place on 29June/2023,  and the PCs adventured for 1 day.

Player Characters Present


Godleve (Level 5 Cleric of Machodor, E)
Giuseppe (Level 5 Paladin from Rome, Brovenloft, E)
Sever (Level 5 Pegasus Corps Ranger of Machodor, E)
Sheamus (Level 4 Irish Fighter from Dublin, Brovenloft, E)
Slippery Pete (Level 3 Thief of unknown heritage, E)
Bumblebore (Level 2 Magic User of Machodor, E)

Session Report


The session started with a rumour that some adventurer had challenged a group of Osser merchants to sell their wears at Castle Von Necro, located now not that far off the main patrol route leading from Schloss Ragnar through the Bandit Mountain and on to St. Raul in the east. Apparently, the merchants, fearing cries of discrimination & misogyny against the "life-challenged" woman said to reside below the crypts, went there overnight and have not been heard of since.

Apart from general amusement, the players were having none of this news; they were primed for dragon hunting.

With the acquisition of a Hawkman Rocket Cycle, which along with Sheamus driving could carry five passengers; and Sever's Pegasus, Convess, the PCs now had a lot more mobility. They were not, yet, so bold as to directly approach the active volcano from the air and potentially encounter Lord Inferno in his favoured element. They had another lead; tunnels, beneath the cyclopean city in the centre of the dormant volcano, which were said to lead to the active volcano approximately 10 miles further north. 

By air they made good time back to the crashed Sky City, still where it had come to rest half sticking out of the side of the dormant volcano. On the way they noticed a furtive figure making its way along a path on a mountain below; they glimpsed tiger stripes and a dressing gown, before the figure disappeared into some rocks.

Ignoring this encounter, they carried on and passed through the gaping crack in the volcano wall above the Sky City; and they were soon directly above the remains of the brain challenging cyclopean metropolis partly submerged in a glacier at the centre of the dormant volcano. The eerie effect of the giant irregular stone shapes was somewhat diminished by the huge section wiped out by the Sky City when it had previously been using the place as a landing pad.

Back in session #3 the party had noted the Sky City siphoning energy from deeper in the volcano via large vertical-tubes filled with a magical fire; bass relief carvings in the area had hinted that this fire was associated with a great dragon, and when Lord Inferno himself had appeared to re-claim the fire - and cause the Sky City to crash - the connection between the two was confirmed. 

From their vantage point hovering above, the tubes were empty holes going straight down, and one seemed as likely to use as any other. The chose one at random and saw, very far below, just at the point where it was difficult to judge if it was their imagination, or not, just a hint of a glowing circle of light.

Shaemus lowered the Rocket Cycle down into the wide shaft, while Sever on Convess circled around them. The shaft went 600' straight down and led to a large chamber in the bowels of the dormant volcano, filled with steam; later they would estimate this area was about a mile in diameter. The ceiling of the chamber was covered with glowing fungus; and it was this phenomenon, when concentrated around the bottom edge of the shafts, that created the circular pattern visible from the surface above.

They continued down and found the floor below to be a coal-black, slippery, and uneven surface, made of porous stone. Here and there the black surface held small amounts of the glowing fungus, which, periodically, fell from the ceiling. The players all made it clear that they would avoid having any of this stuff land on them, or touching it in any way. 

That cleared up, they continued exploring and found a weird chimney-like structure in the north wall that allowed concentrated steam to flow upwards out of the cavern. They also found a huge hole in the ground which appeared to be the entrance to a tunnel spiralling into the depths as it went down. 

They proceeded down into the hole and found the surface inside to be much different, it didn't even really seem like rock at all.

Not long after the entrance to the hole was out of sight, the PCs were accosted by strange, bat-like, flying creatures with big suckers where a bat's head would be. They killed the first one, but a stray shot from one of the Hawkman energy weapons ( I think from Godleve ) missed its target and hit the wall. Then the whole place - apparently the ground was very unstable - began to move, convulse, and shake! 

Having a bad feeling about this, Sheamus turned the rocket cycle around and sped back to the surface and presumed safety. Sever followed on Convess. They narrowly avoided a cave-in just before escaping the tunnel into the main cavern; but, they were not yet safe. 

A giant maw, forty feet wide, belonging to some vast wormlike creature; launched itself at them.

 
Fortunately, they were too fast to be caught before evading its reach. The creature simply retreated into its hole. The party were safe; but, they had no apparent way to proceed.

Hoping to find one, they explored further around the cavern, their continual light was stymied by the steam, which made visibility fuzzy beyond 60'. They soon found another steam chimney to the east, nearby they found another huge hole. Now forewarned, they could see that this hole too was occupied by a giant cave worm.

At this point I advised Sever that Convess had been flying for 3 hours and would need a 1 hour rest (as per the flying rules on pg. 50 of the DMG). The party chose to land the Rocket Cycle as well, and gave thought to the next move while the Pegasus fed greedily from the supplies Sever had brought for his mount.

Not long before the end of this rest period, a large group of riders appeared from the west. The lizardman like creatures, clad in armour and heavily armed; rode large, flightless, birds with long legs and big downcast eyes. The riders moved as though they owned the place.

Language issues, a good reaction roll, plus sheer amazement at the presence of the party in this place, made for a few rounds of stand off; before the PCs realised the creatures were moving to flank them on either side of their grounded Rocket Cycle.

They abandoned diplomacy and went on the attack; Bumblebore sent his familiar O'Malfoy (formerly a Firedrake) around the back of the other group of newt-men and had it use its breath weapon. The fire was shrugged off by most of the man-like creatures, with little if any effect, their mounts actually smiled in pleasure as the flames briefly washed over them. The attack did manage to spoil the spell of a shaman who would have otherwise cast something nasty, so they had that going for them.

There were 50 mounted enemy, staying on the ground was not an option for the party, so they took off and put some vertical distance between them; 50' up was decided upon. In frustration, some of the enemy threw their long pikes up at them, and a few lucky hits actually caused damage to unfortunate PCs while they were ascending. They flew away and soon outpaced the enemy, going far enough south to find another steam chimney and another worm hole. At this point they circled back, I'm not sure why, and in an unfortunate coincidence ran into a group of 20 of the same creatures riding in the opposite direction right for them. 

These numbers were more to the party's liking; so, from the presumed safety of 50' altitude, they closed to give battle and fired off a volley of shots from their Hawkman weapons, while Sever charged and impaled and enemy rider with his lance. 

The opening of the attack was solidly in the party's favour, but things were about to turn for the worse. The mounts of the lizard creatures fired small balls of fire from ducts near each of their two red eyes. Individually these weren't a big threat, but a bunch of them, combined with the area of effect; and the fact that they had a range of 50', made them deadly. I ruled that the Rocket Cycle was in range, but assigned hits randomly with a significant chance to hit the cycle itself. The resulting explosions nearly did for Bumblebore and Slippery Pete, but the Cycle itself also took significant damage.

After another round the lizard creatures had had enough, though their mounts showed no enthusiasm for retreat, the obeyed the commands of their riders and began heading back north. This allowed the PCs to tail them back to their main group; where they witnessed a strange sight. The newt-men had gathered together a large pile from the fungus which had accumulated on the ground; and even now one of the huge cave worms was slinking out of its hole and coming towards it. It swallowed the pile of fungus in one gulp, but not before the flightless-bird mounts of the newt-men had used to opportunity to go down the hole. Now here was a technique the party could use to advance. With this knowledge, they retired back to civilisation to plan another delve.

Treasure and XP

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 26 (Machodor #11);

Cash 

15 sp
6 gp

Monsters

9 Mynocks 567
11 Giant Striders 1041
1 3HD Firenewt Elite 189

Items

Battle Axe
Longsword
Chainmail

Assume sold for a total of 83gp 5sp

Mynocks parts, and bag of glowing fungus: professor Dorol payed 50 for the Mynock parts and 100 gp for a bag of glowing fungus.

Monsters Total: 1797 XP
Monetary Total: 90 XP
Item Total: 150 XP
Total XP: 2037

Total of  2037 XP & 240 GP Weighted by Level 
Godleve (Level 5 ) 423 XP & 50 GP
Giuseppe (Level 5 ) 423 XP & 50 GP
Sever (Level 5 ) 423 XP & 50 GP
Sheamus (Level 4 ) 339 XP & 40 GP
Slippery Pete (Level 3 ) XP Maxed & 30 GP
Bumblebore (Level 2) 169 XP & 20 GP

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 57 (Machodor #29); Goblins and oil don't mix

  Timekeeping This session took place on 01/02/2024, and the PCs adventured for 4 days.  Player Characters Present Lance Errant (Level 1 Pal...