Tuesday 26 September 2023

Solo Play Session 1: Proving Grounds of the CHAZ Overlord

    

Elf Team A


Introduction


"Stinking humans are taking our trees," -- some elf 

The party is made up of disaffected elves intent on pushing back against the encroachment of humans and their religion. One day they might end up as NPC villains in a Machodor session; but, for now, they will concentrate on increasing in power. Their home town is solely populated and run by elves, but the Assassin guild master is calling the shots and is their main patron. There is a dungeon a couple of hours of travel through the partially sylvan forest, and beyond that, a human town not too far away. I have a vague idea of where this is on a regional level; but there is no need to give that away.

Some details of the set up are in this thread, but I will do a post version eventually.

Solo play is a great way to learn and practice the rules without the time pressure of a session. Hopefully using a similar format to a PC session report will work for recording what happened.

Timekeeping


This session took place on 22/09/2023, and the Characters adventured for 1 day.

Characters Present


Beldroth (Level 1 Elf Magic User)
Ilphar  (Level 1 Elf Assassin)
Fingar(Level 1/1 Elf Fighter Magic User)
Morthil  (Level 1 Elf Assassin, LE)

Downtime 


N/A


Session Report

The NPCs know the way to the dungeon, having been shown by other elves previously. This gives one chance of an encounter each way. The party arrived without incident and descended into Appendix A.

Going with a randomly selected standard entrance

I drew this out on my graph paper, but initially forgot to put the doors on. Doors are not friends to this party, since they drop their chance of surprise from 4 to 2.

Relying solely on infravision, they moved down the stair and into the first room (1). Finding it empty, they unhooded their lantern and made some hasty measurements they then scribbled down, before again returned to darkness. They went right and found a stair going up in that next turn to the right. Too early to be leaving, they passed it by. Next they found that the corridor continued east, but soon there was a turn off south into a small 20 by 20 chamber (2) with no exits, and, an encounter. Will it be Orcs, Goblins, what monster is going to fall first? It was character party. 

There were 5 Level 1 Characters & 4 Men-at-Arms: A Human Magic User, A Human Fighter, 2 Human Clerics, and, an Elf Cleric? 

Yes, in fact, a multi-classed elf Cleric is possible.

Neither side were surprised, and the reaction of the other party was neutral. Now I went and rolled up the alignments and details, quite a mixed bag. There was no way the party was going to ignore the fact that there was an elf with them, they needed to know if he was of like mind to them (he was, in fact LE). Was he working on a similar plan to theirs? They dropped a little CE into the conversation, prompting no reaction, then they dropped a little LE, and, bingo. At this point, the leader of the other party, the Neutral MU, had enough of this weird talk and asked the party to leave; which they did.

From here the route east lead to a dead end, so they returned to the entrance room and now I remembered there were supposed to be doors there (you were supposed to draw the bloody doors on! in Michael Caine's voice). They went through the one on the left, having no trouble pushing it open, and explored some corridors without finding anything other than another dead end. They returned again to the entrance room and opened the right door and... characters again in room (3). Yes, the first two encounters were with characters. Naturally, this was the same party as before; they had simply continued their exploring as well and were now here.

Running into characters in 2, and 3

This time, even with the penalty of going through the door, the party had achieved one segment of surprise. This situation is what the party's class selection is all about; surprise the enemy, then use the elf assassins' bows to make assassination attempts as per the assassination table on DMG p. 75. This combination of rules has come up in Trollopulous, and a natural reading of the rules suggests six bow attacks per surprise segment equates to six assassination attempts. We've chosen to lean into the rule that the DM can choose to modify the chance of success; and so we are playing with a -5% penalty per shot, cumulative each segment, with this penalty resetting each segment, and with missile weapons limited to three possible attempts per surprise segment.

Even with only one segment, the temptation was too strong; they attacked! Morthil called out in LE for the enemy elf to drop and that he would be spared, then he and Ilphar unloaded assassinations left and right. I rolled up stats and, crucially, two of the enemy, the MU and the LG Cleric, had a high enough dexterity to counter the surprise. On top of this, none of the assassination attempts worked, but, at least, the automatic hits from the attempts did work, and, two of the characters along with one of the men-at-arms went down. Fingar let loose six arrows into the enemy, with targets randomly assigned among the surprised, he hit the elf and reduced him to -1 hit points (which, with his 15 Con, turned out to be not quite enough to kill him; but he was unconscious). 

With no offensive spells to offer, Beldroth threw nine darts to spread the pain. So at the end of the segment four of the nine enemies were down. The enemy party then went on to win initiative, and, it would have been bad, except I then remembered morale. Having lost four guys, they rolled, high, and surrendered! 

This was unexpected, the party was not equipped to take prisoners, and they soon decided dead men tell no tales. Yet, they were not monsters, although murdering in cold blood might be required, they didn't have to make them suffer. They bound the humans, and staunched the wounds of the elf; then pulled the MU aside and interrogated him to find out what spells he knew. Greedily, they learned that he had Sleep and then hatched their idea of a merciful plan. They had the MU cast Sleep on the prisoners and then killed them, looted them, and pulled out, taking the unconscious elf with them.

On the way back to town they had a close encounter with a group of Sprites, 70 strong. These guys are no joke and the party wouldn't want them to get close enough to detect their alignments. Fortunately they got surprise and used it to evade.


Epilogue


For a first solo outing it seems like an unlikely story is already unfolding. Although I obviously expected this party to be evil; the were real bastards, and I needed a bit of a break afterwards. Will the captured elf be the solution to the party's healing problem when he has recovered? Only time will tell. 



Treasure and XP


Monetary Treasure
250gp, this is treasure that was in the room with the "characters". When there is treasure, I only roll for it ahead of time if the monster might be able to use it.

Monsters
4 Characters 100xp
4 Men-at-Arms 50xp

Items
Spell book 1: Sleep, Jump, Find Familiar, Read Magic  200XP to Beldroth
Spell book 2: Push, Spider Climb, Read Magic, Find Familiar 200XP to Fingar

Potion of heroism 300XP
Potion of  invulnerability 350XP

There were some weapons and equipment looted as well.

Monsters Total:  150 XP
Treasure Total:   1300 XP

XP & GP Assignment 

Beldroth (Level 1 Elf Magic User) 488 XP & 62 GP
Ilphar  (Level 1 Elf Assassin) 262 XP & 62 GP
Fingar (Level 1/1 Elf Fighter Magic User) 462 XP & 63 GP
Morthil  (Level 1 Elf Assassin, LE) 262 XP & 63 GP

Graveyard


Empty so far

Monday 18 September 2023

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 39 (Machodor #18); On the trail of the Frost Giants

   

new rock feature in the Valley of Fear


Timekeeping


This session took place on 08/09/2023, and the PCs adventured for 1 whole day.

Player Characters Present


Giuseppe (Level 5 Paladin from Rome, Brovenloft)
Sheamus(Level 5 Rocket Cycle Fighter of Dublin, Brovenloft)
Sever (Level 5 Pegasus Corps Ranger of Machodor)
Slippery Pete (Level 4 Thief of unknown heritage)
Bumblebore (Level 3 Magic User, Machodor University Associate)
Zabib (Level 1/1 Half Elf Fighter/Magic User - from the desert someplace)
Paro(Level 2/2 Dwarf Fighter/Thief)
Pino(0 Level Dwarf footman)

Downtime 


During downtime most of the party stayed at the fortress complex of the Robopriest in the Valley of Fear. They learned that only part of the vast structure was occupied, due to presence of fear gas emanating from somewhere underground. Naturally, the place was now referred to as "The Gassy Fortress".

The more proactive Zabib had travelled from the fort back to Ringo's cave. He spent a few days here and went from an outsider to nearly being adopted by the clan. Sadly, on the way to re-join his companions, he encountered/was surprised/and was killed by Frost Giants. They used him for target practice and with 2 segments of surprise hit him with around 30 rocks, a sad end, but not one without consequence to the campaign! 

Sever travelled to Minas Mandalf to pick up some field plate armour he had had commissioned there a week or so back, and returned without any problems. Flying really is the safest way to travel.


Session Report

The early consensus was to do more over ground exploration, to try and find a route north to the active volcano. With the player characters spread around the mountains (literally in one case), there was a bit of logistical sorting out before they could begin. But with a Pegasus and a rocket cycle to work with, it didn't take long to get everyone together. Well, nearly everyone. While passing over the valley, they noticed what looked like a recently and hastily constructed cairn near the hidden mountain passage; and just like that they where side tracked for the session.

They returned over the mountains back to Ringo's camp and enquired as to their missing companion Zabib. Ringo, in my terrible liverpoolian, said he had last seen the adventurer when he had left to return the meet them. He also said that it wasn't his people's way to build cairns for the dead, they left their dead to the animals with whom they shared this world.

Slightly grossed out, but now sure that something bad had happened to Zabib, the party left Ringo and returned to examine the cairn (see pic above). A sandaled foot was sticking out from the rocks, easily recognisable as belonging to their former companion. His body had not been there long.

Ranger tracking is practically automatic in these circumstances, and, with a clear trail of huge boot prints to follow, the party decided giant hunting was going to be the first goal of the night. The trail lead south, pretty much directly towards the extinct volcano. After a mile or so the trail, which had been ascending steeply, stopped at a cave entrance.

The cave was easily wide enough for the Rocket Cycle enter. They saw that from the entrance it ran approximately south west into darkness. Sheamus was pained to suggest they land and continue on foot, worried that the noise of the vehicle would alert whatever was in the cave. This was one of those uncanny times where I had already decided exactly that would happen if they simply flew in. As it happened, the tunnel was in fact the only possible landing place nearby. 

"Boss I can't see for nuts in here."
The fighter disabled the ignition and they formed up in marching order.

Bumblebore cast Invisibility on his familiar, O'Malfoy, and sent him out to explore the tunnel. It went on for some distance and then turned south into an oval shaped cavern that was very dark and cold. 

With no infravision and not wanting to risk a light, O'Malfoy was ordered back, and the Dwarf, Paro, went forward.  

The fighter/thief scouted ahead and found the that the opening was at the top of an oval shaped cave that was aligned from north west to south east, its ceiling went up beyond the extent of his infravision. He proceeded forward and saw natural pillars of stone here and there at the far end of the cave and also thought, perhaps, he could see a narrow exit tunnel in the south west. Just as he was taking this in, several large shaggy heads popped up, peering from around the pillars; big wolf heads with glistening white fur.

PG13 version of the scene

Paro ran. Fortunately he was not surprised, but neither were the wolves; six of them were coming out to play. I could think of no earthly reason why they wouldn't chase him down for a snack, but decided to roll on the reaction table anyway; maybe they had already eaten? With a result of a 03, the reaction was "violently hostile, immediate attack", so maybe they hadn't eaten at all for a while.

Alerted by Paro's shout of warning and the tell tale growl of wolves, the party declared that they were going in to attack. They won initative and Paro ran as fast as his stumpy little dwarf legs would carry him; O'Malfoy flew in and lit up the wolves with his fiery breath; Sever flew in on Convess and threw out a gem with Continual Light on it, illuminating the area and revealing a gallery of alcoves to his left, about 60 feet up off the ground. Noting that for later, he plunged down and impaled one Winter Wolf with his lance, killing it. But it was not enough, the remaining five wolves caught up to Paro and inflicted terrible wounds; reducing him to exactly -3 hit points. Yet, his constitution bonus meant that he was somehow still alive!

we use the Con HP bonus to determine the above

At the end of the round they all heard the bellowing roar of what they guessed were giants; coming from above in the alcoves. The sound wasn't far away. Next round Slippery Pete moved up to bravely pull Paro out of danger (apparently the dwarf owed him money), with Giuseppe and Sheamus taking on the wolves. I'd decided in the first round that the wolves were more interesting in a meal than in using their breath weapons to kill Paro; but, now that they were in the thick of battle, what would they do? 

I'd call that a special defence
One thing in the PCs favour was that I had not yet noticed the special defence against cold the wolves had, and so I figured they would not want to use their breath weapons when they might hit each other; but in fact the best play for them might have been to all breath now. Anyway, I decided on a 5-6 on a d6 they would breath, and in the end they all mostly got breath weapons off at some point. In this round only one breathed, while the others used their jaws to tear at their enemies. The 6d4 damage hit Slippery Pete and Paro, the thief survived but he was unable to get Paro clear before the dwarf succumbed to the cold. 

There was no time to mourn as now a huge rock smashed into the melee, killing one of the wolves! All eyes looked up and saw the giant responsible, apparently unperturbed by his poor aim, readying another rock. At the same time, Sever, who had discarded his lance and launched upwards on Convess, found a giant in the first alcove above. This one dropped the rock it was holding and took a swing at the ranger, who responded in kind. The others exchanged blow for blow with the winter wolves. 

Next round Giuseppe ordered a Fall Back manoeuvre (the one in the PHB that's not in the DMG) to take the fight back out into the entrance tunnel and away from Giant missiles. It was a good plan, but initiative was tied, and another rock smashed into the melee; but, fortunately, again hitting and killing a wolf. That giant was looking at an MVP award. For those engaged with wolves, since they were not attacking, initiative didn't have much effect, and they completed their retrograde movement with the wolves snapping at them. Paro's footman Pino, who was still with the Rocket Cycle, came up to help them.

For Sever, tied initiative was an issue, but how much of an issue? The giant was empty handed but I'd decided he would be pulling out his axe this round, after using bare hands last round. But the weapon speed of a fist is 1, Sever's two-handed sword is 10, the weapon speed of a battle axe is 7. So the Giant goes first; but, is it really possible to say what the weapon speed of a axe or a fist sized for a 15' tall giant is? Food for thought. Anyway, in this case the two traded blows, but with the aid of Convess, and a tiny bit of help from O'Malfoy, the giant collapsed after the latter dropped 1 point of fire damage on its achilles heal or something. Sever could hear the other giant trying to climb around to reach him from its side of the next alcove.

The party won initiative and Sever got out in the air and reached the climbing giant while it was still vulnerable, delivering a solid blow with his sword which caused it to fall off the wall and land heavily - 60' and 6d6 damage - down on the floor below. The others killed two more winter wolves, leaving one remaining that breathed its fetid chilled breath over Giuseppe. 

Next round the enemy won initiative and failed their morale, the giant got to its feet and ran for the exit in the south west of the cave. The last winter wolf fled, exposing itself to a barrage of strikes from behind from which it could not escape. 

Sever gave chase to the giant, and was able to prevent it from getting out of his sight for long enough to evade; it finally ran off down a stone hewn corridor leading east. The ranger kept up the pursuit, avoided an elevator trap by gliding over it with his Pegasus, and finally caught up to the giant and downed it. 

The party regrouped and, once they confirmed that there was no treasure in this area, set off looking for trouble and the other four Frost Giants. They found them screaming and charging at them from down the corridor the giant with poor aim had fled down earlier. After a pitched battle in which many a HP was lost on both sides, and several PCs could easily have been killed had the dice so dictated, the brave footdwarf Pino was dead, and so were the four giants. Their lair was found not far away.


Addendum

Although I love Appendix A and I'm pretty comfortable now using it cold in session, once I could see where this session was going I wanted something with more flavour than I had time to improvise, something suggestive of the Frost Giant's living conditions. This map I image searched was perfect for my purposes. The first area would be the lair of the wolves, and beyond that the some of giants, but beyond that would be the remainder of the giants and Appendix A.

I decided that the tracks lead to the main entrance, but the alternate entrance on the top right was detectable if the PC's looked for it. If they had Slippery Pete may have come to the fore again, but in the end they chose to fly in through the front door. When the party went after the four last giants it could have been a long fruitless search; but, I rolled and came up with a 20 first time; wandering monster, and so I just thought: well that's the giants. Gotta love random rolls.


Treasure and XP

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 39 (Machodor #18)

Monetary Treasure
2000ep
2000gp

Monsters
6 Winter Wolves 2295XP
6 Frost Giants 17756XP

Items
Ring of Warmth (Identified for 250gp) 1000XP
Ring of Sustenance (Identified for 250gp) 500XP
Potion of Fire Breath (taste tested) 400XP
Scroll (Magic User: Magic Mouth(2) ,Wall of Iron (5)) (700XP for Bumblebore)

Monsters Total:  20051 XP
Treasure Total:   7900 XP

XP & GP Assignment 
Giuseppe (Level 5, E )  5373 XP & 1249GP
Slippery Pete (Level 4, E ) 5100 XP & 1000GP
Bumblebore (Level 3, E ) 5528 XP & 749GP
Sheamus(Level 5, E )  5373 XP & 1249GP
Sever (Level 5, E )  5373 XP & 1249GP

Graveyard

Zabib (1/2 Elf Fighter/Magic User level 1/1), Killed by Frost Giant rocks in downtime prior to session 39
Paro (Dwarf Fighter/Thief level 2/2) , Killed by Winter Wolves and frozen in session 39
Pino (Dwarf Footman level 0), Killed by a Frost Giant axe in the head in session 39

Thursday 14 September 2023

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 38 (Machodor #17); Cave man and Law man

  

two types of patron

Introduction


The subject of session prep has been a point of contention recently in some circles. One thing I'll sometimes do is roll ahead for the next random encounter, and my mind will continue prepping by itself. A couple of days before this session I got a result of 'cavemen' and immediately connected that with a certain wandering former United Caveman Federation Patron (above left).

Timekeeping


This session took place on 31/08/2023,  and the PCs adventured for 1 day.

Player Characters Present


Giuseppe (Level 5 Paladin from Rome, Brovenloft)
Sever (Level 5 Pegasus Corps Ranger of Machodor)
Godleve (Level 5 Cleric of Machodor)
Slippery Pete (Level 4 Thief of unknown heritage)
Zabib (Level 1/1 Half Elf Fighter/Magic User - from the desert someplace)

Downtime 


Quite a few things going on:

  • A rumour circulated of a Black Knight appearing on the trading routes and challenging travellers to duels.
  • Sever investigated an Ice Pyramid just west of the Master of Winter's valley.
  • Sheamus was training with Connor McGregor at Castle Irish, and his player made clear that he needed the Rocket Cycle for this (the mind boggles). This meant a more ground based session for the rest of the party.
  • Word also reached the PCs that a delegation had showed up at Minas Mandalf purporting to be representatives of a lord from the Bandit Mountains. From the description, his valley was out there somewhere between the two volcanos.

Session Report

The party chose to attempt to move forward in their search for the location of the lair of Lord Inferno by going over land rather than the underground passage that pretty much required the use of the Rocket Cycle to access. Giuseppe loves getting a chance for a ride on his holy warhorse Bonecrusher, and the others dusted off mounts that hadn't been used in a while (apart from Sever, of course).

After half a day of exploring, greatly aided by Pegasus spotting from the air, they had no encounters, but did discover a split in a mountain that lead in the approximate direction they wanted. Eventually a side passage off this lead into a hidden valley. They decided to explore and after half a mile they heard incoherent shouting from up ahead. It sounded like human speech, but the only word they could understand was "Help!". Presently two scruffy caveman-like people approached. These, a man and a woman, both wore curious bandage like wrappings and their arms and head; once they felt they had communicated their problem to the PCs, they pleaded with them to follow.

At the western end of the valley was a cave and, once they struck up the courage to enter, the party found it opened into a large chamber featuring a pool in its center and a high ridge, with crude dwellings visible atop it, on the southwestern wall. Standing on the edge of the ridge was the former United Caveman Federation leader, Ringo, fighting a Dinosaur; yes, a tyrannosaurus rex!

Incredibly, the warrior seemed to be holding his own against the dinosaur, but neither did it look like he would win against the thing. Giuseppe and Sever, the heavy hitters of the party, charged in on their brave mounts and dealt terrible damage to the T-Rex.

Zabib bravely shot from a distance, which proved to be his m.o. throughout the session. Not a bad idea at first level it must be said! I think Slippery Pete also had a shot but missed.

The dinosaur's brain having faintly perceived the two lance hits from behind, the T-Rex turned and attacked the members of the party brave (or foolhardy enough) to face it. This brought the beast away from the ledge and so Ringo could no longer reach it.

I grabbed my combat wheel (don't DM without one), and mentioned that the T-Rex was actually off the scale (I like to be helpful in such things). It proceeded to hit Giuseppe with a claw and then I rolled consecutive 1's for the other claw and the bite. Oh, and about this time I noticed a little fact about the T-Rex they won't teach you in school text books.

 "This monster will pursue and eat nearly anything, engulfing man-sized creatures whole on a roll of 18 or better."

Anyway, like I said, I rolled a 1 for the bite this time. So the Ranger and Paladin, and their brave mounts, were doing a great job pounding away at the giant creature; but it was still standing and taking everything they had to throw at it (including some more ineffective missile fire from the rest of the party).

Next round initiative was a tie (a bit of a theme for the session) meaning, since the dinosaur, obviously, was not using weapons with a speed factor, attacks were simultaneous. The front line wiped out the remainder of the dumb creature's hit points, but, before it knew it was dead, it hit Sever for a full claw/claw/bite routine (including a natural 17 for the bite, so close!) I gathered five d8s plus two d6s and rolled see if Sever survived, making sure that the sound of my handful of dice was audible over discord. Anticlimactically, I rolled three or four 1s, totalling a measly 18 damage; less than the Ranger himself had scored with this sword. 

The creature collapsed and the PCs leapt out of the way as it fell. Ringo himself simply said "Thanks," turned around, and went into his cave. The party, expecting something more, were nonplussed. Immediately the two cave dwellers who had lead them there came up and thanked the party, while others charged down from the ledge with dinosaur skinning tools (utensils, equipment, rocks?) in hand. 

There was a fair bit of talking and arguing here, both with the misfit cavemen and among the players themselves. Finally they went up to Ringo's cave to get his story. And it was quite a story, but possibly not that interesting for a session report. In short, having been displaced form his leadership position by un unwitting Macho Mandalf, he had since been wandering throughout the lands, was exposed to nuklear radiashun, and ended up here in the mountains where he had found this cave and its magical pool which was, he assumed, linked to somewhere in the jungles of the UCF, since every day or so a creature from there would just appear in it.

the holy text

Last year, some of his people had been resurrected by a certain plane hopping mummy, they wore bandage like wrappings on their arms and heads in his honour, and wished to learn of their saviour's wisdom if the party had any knowledge in this area. Godleve was sorry he asked, but said he would keep an eye out.

With a few hours left in the day, and little desire to take up Ringo's offer of accommodation, the party set out again, with the exception of Giuseppe who chose to remain behind and argue theology with the locals (something came up IRL). 

They returned to the narrow crack in the mountains that passed for the main route, and continued north east. In a short while further travel was blocked by the sheer rock of the mountains. Were'sbane piped up and pointed out a cunning secret moving wall, which, when opened, lead out into another typical mountain valley, albeit quite a large one.

Sever took to the air on Convess and surveyed the area. The valley ran roughly 4 miles north west to south east, and, 3 miles north east to south west, in a large rectangle of undulating ground. To the north west there was a wide gap in the tall mountains, which lead out of the valley. 

In the north east of was a large fortress complex, with some sort of haze in the air over it. Some distance away he also spied a group of about 30 figures, which appeared to have come out of the ground near one of the up thrusting rocky areas in the valley.

He returned to the group to fill them in, then went out to get a closer look at the 'figures'. Coming in out of the lowering sun to cover his approach, Sever easily identified the group as Firenewts, with about a dozen mounted on dangerous Giant Striders. He shadowed them for a some time, and it became clear that they were setting up to raid some farms not far from the fortress. 

He flew on to warn the inhabitants of the fortress, who were human. They received his message gratefully and soon opened their doors to let out a squadron of mounted archers. While this was happening, back with the Cavemen, a change came over Ringo, and, in some sort of trance, he enjoined Giuseppe that his party needed him.

Sever re-joined the party just as Giuseppe arrived on Bonecrusher, and they all rode quickly to catch up to the Firenewts, reaching them after the battle with the human cavalry had already started. 

The Firenewts were in a circular formation around their leaders, with the Giant Striders to the east exchanging fire (literally) with the humans. The unexpected assault from the west by the party did not actually result in surprise, but Sever dropping down on Convess and attacking the leaders did not help morale. 

Giuseppe and Godleve attacked at ground level while Slippery Pete and Zabib sniped from a distance. The enemy caster managed to land a spell on Sever, but these guys really have a pretty lame line up of spells and he was unfased by the Fairie Fire. There was some danger for Godleve when his horse was cut down and he landed underneath it, but the enemy, who had lost a few from both sides of their formation by this time, broke away, with their remaining leader reluctantly following them. 

Having got in some parting shorts, with the exception of Giuseppe who would not strike and enemy in the back, the party was largely ready to let them run; but Sever was having none of that and he went off with the human cavalry in pursuit. In a cool little vignette to the battle he caught up to the leader who, seeing escape was hopeless, halted his Giant Strider, dismounted, and challenged Sever to personal combat. The Ranger was only too happy to oblige and dismounted from Convess.

They walked up, saluted, and it was on! The first round was tied initiative and there was some confusion as I tried to remember if I'd said the Firenewt leader had had a longsword or and axe. I went with long sword and so he got two blows in on Sever before the latter could attack with his slower two handed sword. But when he did attack, it reminded me of an old commodore 64 game.


One last footnote: the Giant Strider of the Firenewt leader, a totally fearless creature, sat there and regarded Sever, who then impressed upon the creature that he was its new boss. After this the leader of the human cavalry, a ranger called Eagle Eyed Ed, thanked them all and welcomed them to stay at the fortress of his mysterious master: Lord Alexus Murpheus aka Robopriest.


Treasure and XP

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 38 (Machodor #17)

Monetary Treasure
100sp
40gp

Monsters
Tyrannosaurus 8800 XP
Firenewt Shaman 258
Firenewt Leader (Sever) 185
7 Firenewt Grunts 819
3 Giant Striders 273

Items
( some Firenewt gear no one at the fortress is interested in )

Monsters Total:  10,150XP
Treasure Total:   45XP

XP & GP Assignment 
Giuseppe (Level 5, E )  2030 XP & 9GP
Slippery Pete (Level 4, E ) 2030 XP & 9GP
Godleve (Level 5, E ) 2030 XP & 9GP
Sever (Level 5, E )  2215 XP & 9GP
Zabib (Level 1.5, E/P) 2030  XP & 9GP

Wednesday 6 September 2023

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 37 (Machodor #16); Caves, Cats, and Cultists?

 

Guarda

Timekeeping


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

Player Characters Present


Giuseppe (Level 5 Paladin from Rome, Brovenloft)
Sever (Level 5 Pegasus Corps Ranger of Machodor)
Sheamus (Level 5 Irish Fighter from Dublin, Brovenloft)
Bumblebore (Level 3 Magic User of Machodor)
Paro the Effluvious (Level 1/2 Dwarf Fighter/Thief)

Downtime 


Giuseppe and Sever investigated a report of a spy ring in Guarda. They made the trip from Schloss Ragnar without any encounters, and soon confirmed the report that the spies had fled north before their trail disappeared. Unfortunately, since these reports the weather had been poor, with thunderstorms and hail obliterating any chance of the ranger picking up tracks. With the benefit of a Pegasus eye view however, Sever was able to find a narrow pass in the mountains that the Guardan's had missed, which lead to an uncharted valley beyond; most likely this is where the spies went.

Session Report

Having spent the last few sessions deep underground slogging their way up to the volcano of Lord Inferno (and other sessions elsewhere); the players, ready for a change of pace, decided to pursue the report of a spy ring in Guarda. They had already established the existence of a dragon cult, and guessed the spies must have some connection they could exploit, if they could catch them.

One it was established that they had obtained all the relevant information from the Guarda Garrison, the party travelled north then east through the mountains until they reached the narrow pass Sever had found. This cleft, at ground level only a few paces wide, cut through the mountain for hundreds of yards, was very tall, and narrowed as it rose above them, like an axe had cut into the mountain from below and split it to the sky.

About half way through the passage, a pack of Ghouls, who had sensed them going past, was spotted by O'Malfoy when Bumblebore sent him back to check on the sudden noises from behind them. This did give them the advantage of the surprise roll happening now, and not later when the party were closer.

(I had a bit of a DM chuckle here when I realised that the players had gone out of their way to avoid going back to the Ghast lair from last session, only to run into Ghouls here)

O'Malfoy strafed the monsters with his fire breath for a pitiful amount of damage, which would none-the-less prove useful later when Bumblebore used Macho Mandalf's Flying Elbow to good effect. They destroyed the ghouls fairly handily, with Giuseppe's holy warhorse, Boncrusher, losing a lot of HP and Giuseppe himself getting paralysed for the second consecutive session (as I could find no rule on how long Ghoul Paralysis lasts, I decided on 1d12 hours for a paladin. He recovered by the next morning, no one having thought to use the fungus on him).

I made a couple of mistakes in this fight, including exempting the dwarf from the effects of the Ghouls' paralysis, but simple hit point loss was as bigger a problem for him anyway. I also wondered later if the monsters should have ignored the mounts and concentrated on human targets. Anyway, these things tend to even out over time.

Sever tracked the ghouls' clawed prints back to a stone stair hidden in the mountain side, which they must have missed earlier but now was obvious. They sent O'Malfoy in to take a look and found a room below holding lots of refuse and the remains of ghoul meals, but no treasure. The only thing of interest was an archway leading east out of the ghoul lair and further into the mountain side.

It was getting dark out, and, not wanting to be trapped by any nightly encounters, they followed to the cleft in the mountain north, to its end, and camped just into the valley beyond.

The night was uneventful, but their morning ablutions were interrupted by a loud roar from the western side of the valley. Sever took to the sky and investigated; finding that the roar belonged a 6 headed Hydra, it was serving itself a breakfast of some herd animals, which were plentiful in the grassy valley. He also found a large cave at the northern end of the valley, the only other obvious way out. It was about this time that Giuseppe could move again. A short but intense debate followed regarding attacking the monster, but they decided to pass. The lure of the possible dungeon behind them proved more attractive.

So, returning to the ghoul lair, they explored for a while and found a series of corridors and another room, this was also filled with refuse. In one of the corridors they found a trapdoor with a stair case going down two levels. This must be the mother load down there, surely!? Sever and Paro descended the stairs, which wound down into an enclosed room. In this room was... a really big pile of refuse, with an Otyugh living inside. At this discovery, something snapped, and the party decided to give up on the place altogether. When they got back outside Sheamus angled the Rocket Cycle's gun and blasted the entrance until it was blocked off.

They had been extremely slow and methodical inside the "Dungeon of Refuse"  (#BROSR exclusive content, coming out soon), their exploring and checking for traps had used up about two hours before they returned to the grassy valley. Here they found no signs of any human tracks such as they were looking for, but they did discover that the Hydra was nowhere to be found. There was nowhere in the valley for it to hide, even in the unlikely event that it wanted to, but there was a narrow gap in the mountains to the west, near where it had been seen, that it could have left through; and to the north was the large cave mouth. 

They crossed the valley and entered the cave, which was very wide and led down to a natural passage, it took them north east some miles. During this period, eventually, after careful checking, they found signs of traffic, since these could not have been erased by the recent storms, perhaps they were made by their quarry? The underground passage terminated after 4 miles, ascending back to the surface via a another wide cave mouth leading outside.

The party caught a glimpse of a similar looking valley beyond, before running into five Displacer Beasts. The creatures were returning from a late breakfast and were covered in the blood of (presumably) herd animals. Likely their lair was somewhere nearby, and, thanks to Sever's Ranger bonus, the party caught the monsters with their pants completely down, and achieved 3 segments of surprise (following Dorrinal's excellent idea, I rolled surprise for both sides this week. Given this result there was no argument from the players).

Everyone made use of the "3 times normal rate of missile fire in a surprise segment" except for Bumblebore, who directed O'Malfoy, and Shaemus, who didn't want to tax the batteries on the Rocket Cycle and so kept to one shot per segment. This meant 18 arrows from Sever and Giuseppe (both with Strength bonus bows, available in Minas Mandalf), 9 flasks of oil from Paro (don't ask how many he carries, I'll have to check encumbrance on that) which he didn't need to set fire to thanks to the flaming breath of O'Malfoy. It was a slaughter; sometimes the combat dice goes that way, and, as they were soon to discovered, so can the treasure dice.

They grabbed the loot from the monsters' nearby lair and left the cave, entering the valley ahead, which was slightly smaller than the one where they had seen the Hydra. They spied a gap in the mountains to the east, which lead away south east; but, still no sign of their quarry, the presumed dragon cultists. Consulting their map they could see that they were almost equidistance from Schloss Ragnar, Castle Irish, Guarda, and the Master of Winter's valley. 

It seemed quite likely, that, if they went south east, they would end up in the area they had previously explored when pursuing the Orc Baggage train, that should be a faster way back to Guarda, so they set off in that direction. As they left the valley they heard a terrible roar off in the distance to the west, even more terrible than the Hydra; but were happy to leave its source behind them.

A few uneventful miles later that did indeed find they were in familiar territory, not far from the Master of Winter's valley to the east. This conjured some bad memories, and then fanciful suggestions about going and paying him a visit; perhaps leaving a note in his mail box. However, cooler heads prevailed and they restricted themselves to rude gestures and recriminations. 

Nearby, Sever spied a glinting light from one of the mountain peaks, a strangely clear ice formation (which he would come back and investigate in downtime).

As the day was mostly spent when they reached Guarda, they chose to spend the night there, before heading back to Schloss Ragnar to sell their treasure. Whether it occurred to them that their quarry could have followed the same route and were back in Guarda themselves, I don't know...

  

Treasure and XP

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 37 (Machodor #16)

Monetary Treasure

Displacer Beast lair
Gems : 100 gp Bloodstone, 100 gp Blue Quartz, 100 gp Moss Agate, 1000 gp Emerald, 12 gp Tiger Eye Agate, 1200 gp Emerald, 500 gp Garnet, 6 gp Hematite, 70 gp Moss Agate, 80 gp Banded Agate. Total Value: 3168 gp
Jewelry  : 400 gp Pendant, 1000 gp Arm Band, 1000 gp Pin, 5000 gp Ring, 3000 gp Belt. 
Total Value: 10400 gp

Monsters

6 Ghouls 499 XP
5 Displacer Beasts 1379 XP

Items

Bag of Displacer Beast parts (Professor Dorol's representative in Schloss Ragnar gives you 55gp for the parts)

Monsters Total: 1878  XP
Treasure Total:   13,623 XP


XP & GP Assignment Weighted by Level Shares & any bonuses
Giuseppe (Level 5, E )   3698 XP & 3322 GP
Bumblebore (Level 3, E ) 2369  XP & 1994 GP
Sheamus (Level 5, E ) 3698 XP & 3322 GP
Sever (Level 5, E )  3698 XP & 3322 GP
Paro (Level 2.5, E/E)  2036 XP & 1661 GP

Sunday 3 September 2023

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 34 (Machodor #15); The Lost Dwarf mine of Diz-nay (or Run, Godleve, Run!)

           

Area Map


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)
Dusty Angus (Level 2, Thief, E)
Paro the Effluvious (Level 1/1 Dwarf Fighter/Thief, E,E)

Session Report


The players were still laser focussed on finding the lair of the Red Dragon, Lord Inferno; so, flying on their Hawkman 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.

A series of negative encounter checks saw them swiftly (in real time) make it all the way down to the lost dwarf mine without incident.

While safe in the small tunnel leading from the lava tube to the dwarf halls the party had an extensive discussion about which direction they should go. When they finally entered the dwarfs halls via the secret door, this discussion had become moot; someone had completely blocked the north route with boulders. Had the Nork-ers, believing the PC's came from this direction (having found the Rocket Cycle there last session) done this, who knows? Anyway, this left them with a choice of south: down a narrow passage leading away from their goal; or, east, down a flight of stairs they had not yet explored.

They chose the latter and soon found themselves at the end of a short corridor looking into a 30' by 60' room, there was a crudely marked square drawn on the floor. Convinced that this marking was a way of drawing attention away from the real trap, Paro spent some minutes checking the floor and walls around it; even the ceiling was examined by the sharp eyed fighter/thief. The dwarf came up empty so Sever had a go, and, using his intelligent sword Were'sbane, identified the square as being the location of an elevator going down.

As it was possible to squeeze past without going directly over the elevator, the party elected to do so. Continuing east, they passageway stretched further that their light could reach, but the could see two branching corridors, heading north,  and they chose to take the closest one. To do so they passed through stone double doors carved to depict an idyllic scene of dwarfs heading to the mine then,  after 70', the passage turned east where there was another set of double doors.

The room beyond was also 30' by 60', the same size as the room with the elevator trap, but there the comparison ended. The room was the scene of a recent bloodbath; everywhere, piles of bodies, recognisable as Stirges, were strewn across the floor. They party searched thoroughly and found one or two bodies belonging to the Nork-er creatures they had tangled with last session; it appeared they had won the battle, though at a high price, and dragged their dead away with them (at least those they could find).

The PCs brought in the Rocket Cycle and Sheamus landed it while the others searched; but Sever had problems with Convess. The Pegasus, recognising the smell of blood and the Nork-ers who harassed him last session, wanted no repeat of this event; so the Ranger was forced to wait in the doorway.

Paro's patient searching was rewarded by finding a secret door in the south wall. After suitable precautions were exhausted, they slid a stone panel open; revealing a dusty 10' by 10' room filled with old sacks. These proved to be filled with coins! At that moment a Rust Monster, attracted by the smell of metal in the room, burst through the eastern door.




The creature's eyes lit up at the prospect of the feast of metal in front of it; a bad surprise or initiative roll and the Rocket Cycle was going to be dissolved! Fortunately for them they were not surprised, possibly because Sever had nothing to do except stand around watching and keeping his Pegasus happy. In fact, they managed to surprise and beat down the single monster before it could eat anything. Paro spiked the door shut that it had come through before anyone could go in an search for treasure. 

They now proceeded to search the treasure room and found another secret door to the south. The cunningly built door slid open to reveal a large bedroom, or dormitory, 30' by 30'. In it were seven beds with occupants in them, and there was a normal door opposite in the south wall.

Giuseppe went in and immediately was assailed by the terrible stench of death in the close room; he went to secure the far door, followed by Paro, while the rest began to move into the room and also made saves against the effects of the horrible smell. At this point the figures on the beds started to move, sat up, and leapt out of their beds towards the party. They were very short, and very undead!

This party's first session in the Bandit Mounts saw them defeat a vast number of skeletons, and they started this fight unconcerned at undead. Two failed Turn Undead attempts later, things suddenly got deadly. 
happier times


The creatures, though small, or, at least, short; had no qualms attacking the taller adventurers with claw/claw/bite routines. One came up to Sheamus, yawned in his face, and managed to get past his adamantite shield with its claw; paralysing the human fighter. Two more, one slack jawed and stupid looking, the other bearing an oddly shy countenance; went for Godleve, perhaps incensed by his brandished holy symbol. The Cleric's armour (fresh from the shop after last session's Rust Monster Rastle) and magic shield held true. A fourth monster, eyes bulging under a spectacles, went for Sever; and the Ranger too was paralysed.

At the other end of the Room, one undead sneezed at Giuseppe and Paro, before attacking the fellow dwarf and paralysing him. Giuseppe held off one that was the grumpiest undead he'd ever seen and returned blows with his dragonslayer sword.

After one round half the party were paralysed, and little if any damage had been inflicted by them on the enemy. Dusty started looking for a way to escape.

Trouble with a capital D


Things slowed down and went quiet, as realisation dawned that the next round could easily spell the end for the party. Maybe in what follows I was too helpful as a DM, but I tried hard to stay on the right side of being a referee, while also ensuring the players had access to vital information their characters knew of. Some of the players thought Cure Light Wounds could cure paralysis; so I had to set them straight on that. I pointed out that what they would need was some sort of healing mechanism that could be applied directly to the wounds, if only they had such a thing (say, perhaps, the sacks of fungus saturated with power absorbed by exposure to the "Living Fire" they had previously found to have healing properties). 

A plan formed; Dusty, who had conveniently backed away from the action already, would grab two sacks of fungus from the Rocket Cycle while Godleve dragged the paralysed Sheamus and Sever back through the secret door then slide it shut. Meanwhile, Giuseppe would hold the other end of the room and try to draw the enemies' attention, first dragging Paro behind him and kicking open the southern door so he could hold a narrower space against the ghastly undead. They won initiative, which was vital, and managed most of this before Giuseppe too was paralysed. 

Dusty dumped fungus all over the paralysed humans and hoped they would soon regain the power of movement; but, now they also had the problem of what to do with Giuseppe and Paro; the undead would tear them apart in short order without help. Godleve stepped up again to save the day again.

If he ran all the way around, retracing their steps to the main west/east corridor, and then continuing east before taking the next turn north, he would come to the door Giuseppe was standing in. It would take three rounds, but I ruled that if he charged it would take two rounds, then he could try to save Giuseppe and Paro with the last two bags of fungus he collect on his way past the Rocket Cycle. Meanwhile, the others, once the fungus had taken effect, would slide open the secret door just enough to attract the attention of the undead there, allowing Sheamus to fight alone in the bottle neck while Sever stabbed past him with his spear.

Godleve did manage to reach Giuseppe in 2 rounds, one round in which the Ghasts got automatic hits (I messed up here and they should have got double the number of normal hits against him) so Giuseppe was near death when Godleve won initiative, pulled the two paralysed party members out of harm's way (for the second time) and slammed the door shut in the faces of the Ghasts. I had already determined that the door opened outwards so this worked in his favour. He propped the paralysed dwarf against it while he applied fungus to Giuseppe. 

Any temptation to carry on when they finally managed to take down another Ghast was cut short when Sheamus was again paralysed; they dragged him back and slid the door shut. They could hear the monster's ghastly - what other adjective could I use - screaming in the room. Though muffled, through the wall it sounded something like 'HiOh HiOh'.



Having shut the remainder of the undead within their bedroom, the party was thinking seriously about making a break for home, but then decided to push on for "one more room". This was the room at the end of the hallway on the south side of the ghast room. It was a small, quiet room, featuring a raised plinth on which was a glass topped coffin. Within was a very well preserved young woman; she looked like she could awaken at any time.

She also looked to be laden down with expensive jewelry and wore arm bracers that radiated magic. There was some concern about grave robbing from the good aligned characters, but when the woman transformed into an undead beasty before their eyes and took a swing at Sever; it was game on.

Fortunately the monster only lasted one round, and just missed taking Sever down a level before being defeated.





Treasure and XP

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 34 (Machodor #15)

Monetary Treasure

Coins
5,000 SP (250GP/XP)
3,750 EP (1875Gp/XP)

Jewellery
1000gp wrought gold necklace
2000gp gold with gems tiara
3000gp silver with gems diadem
3000gp silver with gems earrings
3000gp wrought platinum Apple shaped locket

Monsters

1 Rust Monster 404  XP
3 (Dwarf) Ghasts 810 XP
1 (Snow) Wight 620 XP

Items

Bag of Rust Monster parts (Professor Dorol's representative in Schloss Ragnar gives you 105gp for the parts)

Bracers of Defence AC 8 1000XP

Monsters Total: 1,834 XP
Treasure Total: 15,230 XP


XP & GP Assignment Weighted by Level Shares & any bonuses
Giuseppe (Level 5, E )  3982 XP & 3658 GP
Godleve (Level 5, E ) 3982 XP & 3658  GP
Sheamus (Level 4, E ) 3259 XP & 2926 GP
Dusty Angus (Level 2, missed the fight with Snow Wight, E) 400 XP & 200 GP
Sever (Level 5,E )  3982 XP & 3658  GP
Paro (Level 1.5, E/E)  1421 XP & 1097 GP








Trollopulous Adjusted Session 66 (Machodor #32); Battle Braunstein!

The Bandit Mountains Braunstein: A Diplomacy-like game where players take on individual roles either cooperating or else working against eac...