Wednesday 13 December 2023

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 49 (Machodor #25); Return to the River Dungeon

      

Machodor

Timekeeping


This session took place on 30/11/2023, and the PCs adventured for 4 days. 

Player Characters Present


Lance Errant (Level 1 Paladin of Minas Mandalf, E)
Marty O'Tool (Level 1 Cleric of Dublin, Brovenloft, E)
Larrinod "Larry" Blackmantle (Level 1 Magic User/Cleric, bastard son of an elf, E)
Slapp Dashington (Level 1 Blue skinned Monk from outer space, E ) 

Introduction 


After the madness of Brovenloft the River dungeon has been a welcome change of pace. In this session I experienced how having a Special room (a result on 18 on Appendix A table V. F) ready can transform a session.

Session Report


Rowan the rower (as the party had renamed him) pointed out that using the sail would allow the barge to return to the River Dungeon twice as fast as last time, which met with nods of approval.  Apart from other water borne traffic the party had no encounters until sunset on the second day, when some wild cattle could be seen off to the west of the river (something to keep the lions fed I guess).

Next morning they continued on and soon reached the river lock. The men-at-arms/bargemen reminded them that the river worked its way right through the mountains via locks such as these; built by unknown parties in the distant past, they were largely automated, although occasionally the merchant guild sponsored craftsmen to maintain them.

Having gained about 50 feet in altitude, they continued on up river, following the path many long years of weathering had carved between the mighty walls of the mountains on either side.

They reached the place of openings in the cliff wall to their right; and picked the same spot as last time to beach their craft, then assigned two of the men at arms to guard the vessel.

River Dungeon Level 1


The corridor, carved out of the stone but long weathered to remove any but its most basic features, went west, branching off to the north west after 10', and continuing on 50' before opening into a 40' square chamber. They went north west and found the room there, which previously some fire beetles had taken refuge in, was now empty.

They went west out of this room and soon found another chamber with packing crates stacked up in the middle of it. As they examined these, oil spilled out from somewhere in the ceiling, followed by goblin laughter. A dropped cinder then set fire to Lance and to the crates as well; which continued to burn even after they had seen to Lance. 

The party continued on into a fresh corridor going west, at the end of which were a pair of skeletons in front of a door. I was very tempted to say "something has just come through the door" before I rolled what it was; I'm glad I didn't as the skeletons might have been guarding this spot for years as far as the PCs knew.

The first round was decisive, with one skeleton getting turned by Marty O'Tool and the other was smashed by Lance (although, as he used an edged weapon, the damage was half normal). Follow up attacks finished the wounded skeleton and then the other one, having pushed open the door behind it, was off running (I think it picked up a hit as it did so). It raced through the next room and continued west, down a short corridor, into another room, then south. 

Slapp Dashinton caught up to it here and gave it the coup de grace (see the x). As the corridor they were in continued south out of the range of their light, they decided to go back and examine the two rooms they had run through. In one were pallets of shipping material, apparently for tools; in the other was a large and dilapidated tapestry that ran all the way along a 30' wall. The image was faded; but appeared to show very large human looking creatures moving about these very same halls.

They pulled down the tapestry (which fell into rotten pieces) and searched the wall behind for secret doors, finding none. Having used up a fair bit of time here and having to light new torches (and a negative encounter check) they continued exploring down a southern exit, which lead to a long corridor. 

Click to Enlarge
Incidentally, I've been applying the dungeon time rules as strictly as possible, using spindown dice as a counter for rounds and turns. As I get better I will be even more accurate with tracking the passage of time. One effect of these rules is that mapping even a small room is likely to tick over to a turn divisible by 3 and trigger an random encounter check. For a large room it is practically guaranteed.


After bypassing a side passage and noting another, they chose to investigate the latter and came upon...goblins! This was the special room. Within the 30' by 40' area, and only 10' from where the party were standing, was to the top of a well. Six goblins, stripped of their armour but still armed, were sitting around the rim of the well; apparently they were getting ready to jump in. Just past them were six more goblins still in their disgusting, smelly but quite effective armour.



Neither side were surprised and the party chose to move up and attack (since they were within 10' of the enemy this can be done without needing to charge), focussing on the naked goblins, who in turn engaged them while they armoured fellows closed from around the well. It was a free for all, goblins and PCs slashing left and right. The party had the benefit of Lance's 10' Protection from Evil, but that wasn't enough save Slapp from getting hit with a morning star for 2 hp. 

One of the goblins fell in the well as he was killed, shortly followed by the sound of a splash and the disgruntled chatter of more goblins from below. As the enemy casualties hit 25% they narrowly failed their morale in the range of 1% to 15% "fall back, fighting". What does this actually mean? I ruled that they spent a round stepping back 10 feet to regroup, after which they could continue fighting.

The party advanced and re-engaged, as they passed the well they caught a glimpse of water and the movements and sounds of goblins down there. For two rounds they exchanged blows, with some minor damage taken on the party's side; though not minor for Slap who had only one hit point left and was hit by a 1d6 short sword, he again was hit for 1hp and lucky to be only knocked unconscious. 

Even with the monk down, the goblins had lost more of their number which this time triggered a rout. Out of that rout only one got away, racing down the passage to the east which linked up with the beach.

Lance wasn't going to let that one get away; but as he finished him off, and Marty O'Tool was force feeding Slapp some whiskey, the voice of one of the bargemen rang out with a warning that Goblins were attacking the barge, "They're coming up out of the water!"

This was the cue to withdraw, but as they left the room they spotted a tell-tale glint of coins in some open crates near the exit. There was no time to collect it!

Once the party got back to the barge they could see what the man at arms was referring too; about thirty goblins were treading water around the barge and jeering obscenities, working themselves up to attack. There must have been some connection between the well and underground access to the river that the little buggers were using to swim out; maybe this was their method of stealing things from passing traffic?

Now there was a stand off as the the Paladin's intimidation kept the goblins at bay, but the party were loathe push off and leave without the treasure. Larry volunteered to return and get it, relying on his speed and luck to get in and out. So he ran back to the "well room", noted the gold and platinum coins in the crate, and got out a large sack.  Now, as the only player this week that had not experienced my amazing "poisoned treasure" gambit from last session (and apparently not having poured over the session report where I went over it in detail) he then began scooping them into a bag, causing some disquiet among the other players whose characters couldn't do a thing about it.

Yes, just like last session, this treasure too was poisoned, with the same crude sticky contact stuff that had nearly done for Slapp; but, where as Slapp had noticed to poison, Larry missed his 80% change to detect it and so had to make a saving throw. To preserve the suspense I made these rolls for him and merely described was happened next over the 2-5 rounds onset time. 

While this was going on, some of the goblins had reached the shore, untied leather strips they were wearing around their waists, and began to collect stones from the shore; clearly something had to be done.



Lance and Rowan went down on to the beach and dealt with four goblins that were just fitting stones to their slings. The others were fast learners and stayed in the water where they were safe, but if reinforcements arrived they would be able to join in with them.

The moments stretched out. With the luck of the Elves in his blood, Larry survived the poison and made it back in time for his comrades to urge him to wash his hands post haste.

Then they pushed out into the river until they could move past the goblins and set off for home, making it back to Minas Mandalf without incident to fight another day.


Treasure and XP



Trollopulous Adjusted Session 49 (Machodor #25)

Monetary Treasure

250gp
100pp

Treasure Total: 750 GP/XP

Items

8 Goblin ears (collected by Rowan the Man-at-arms and given to the merchant guild) and his testimony of 8 more: 16 GP. 

Rowan has an odd habit of calling out the number of Goblins getting killed in the language used by the Weeb Army.

Monsters

16 Goblins 256XP
2 Skeletons 40XP

Monsters Total: 296 XP


XP & GP Assignment 1046 XP, 766 GP

Lance Errant (Level 1, E) 262 XP & 191.5 GP
Marty O'Tool (Level 1, E) 262 XP & 191.5 GP
Larry (Level 1/1 , E ) 262 XP & 191.5 GP
Slap Dashington (Level 1, E ) 262 XP & 191.5 GP

Graveyard


Jacques Ocular (Level 1 Magic User), a fat green worm burrowed into his head and turned him into a Son Of Kyuss in Brovenloft in Session #43

Pino (Dwarf Footman level 0), Killed by a Frost Giant axe in the head in session #39

Paro (Dwarf Fighter/Thief level 2/2) , Killed by Winter Wolves and frozen in session #39

Zabib (1/2 Elf Fighter/Magic User level 1/1), Killed by Frost Giant rocks in downtime prior to session #39

Wednesday 6 December 2023

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 46 (Machodor #23); Brovlenloft '23 Climax

    


The great Tomb of Kangsta Wrapper, (aka KV5)



Timekeeping


This session took place on 03/11/2023, and the PCs adventured for 15 days. All Brovenloft '23 PCs will be available again on 18/11/2023

Player Characters Present


Giuseppe (Level 6 Paladin of Rome, Brovenloft, E)
Sever (Level 6 Pegasus Corps Ranger of Machodor, E)
Deltacron (Level 1 Fighter/Thief, E ) 
Sheamus, Verdana, Godleve, Slippery Peter, and Bumblebore remained in the Amber Light

Introduction 


When the players missed a session and spent a week extra within the protective Amber light, events outside of the light continued to transpire. The extra dimensional creatures, known as the Githro, completed their unknown but surely nefarious raid on the inner tomb of Kangsta Wrapper, deep with his pyramid. However, all had not gone entirely in their favour; four of them had bitten off more than they could chew, if I can put it that way.

Many thanks to the Elite Patron player @cirsova who, in the lead up to Brovenloft, provided great tips that I could use: "Kangsta's Pyramid has the dungeon layout of KV5 as though it were completed. It's sphinx-shaped. His recording studio is in the Sphinx's left paw, as are the remaining stock of his CDs and Records."


I used this graphic he provided and dungeonscrawl.com to produce my map

Now, the fact that it was Sphinx shaped immediately made one idea jump to mind, but that would not have been relevant to the Githro situation. It was however relevant to this situation.

Due to a number of reasons we were down to three players for this session, I was tempted to lean into the Amber Light and delay the session for a week; however I really felt I was stretching the thing pretty far as it was to get into the first week of November, and so decided to press on.

Downtime


Two of the Dervish who joined the party in the previous session were so impressed with Giuseppe's proselytizing that they declared they would renounce their LN alignment and become Lawful Good. 

Session Report


The Amber Light faded and the party searched around the "16 Pillar Room" in the middle of the tomb. Though most of the decorations in the room itself had been obliterated in some sort of titanic battle that had preceded their arrival; they were able so see that exits to the east and west lead down short corridors with doors at their extremities, and these did have recognisable carvings featuring wings and feathers on them. They also found that two of the 16 pillars contained niches about the size of a man's head (a cause of concern to some). The interior of these niches held paintings that had escaped the destruction in the rest of the room; one of these depicted a Jackal's head, the other depicted a Baboon's head.

The party decided to explore the ascending stair at the south end of the room, rather than the two descending stairs in the south east and south west. It was a short stair that ended in a door, beyond this was a 20' square room with two unusual sarcophagi; each was split in two, making four pieces; but it was clear they had been constructed this way and not that they had been broken. The only exit was another short flight of stairs to the south which ascended to another door. Beyond this was an almost exact replica of the first room. Much searching and detecting traps and secret doors along with Giuseppe detecting evil accompanied their every step as they continued up another stair.

Finally Giuseppe could report that there was definitely something evil beyond the next door. They braced themselves and pushed it open. The room was similar to the two they had pass through, though it was larger and held more half-sarcophagi; and in one of them was a strange figure. Its surface was a red leather, much the same as the creatures they had fought last session, however this one had the form of a mummy; but a mummy with the head of a Baboon! It was sitting up in the half-sarcophagi and its head turned towards them. Battle was on and the creature proved very hardy, even their magical weapons seemed to less effective than normal, and it packed a powerful punch. Even so it proved no match for Giuseppe and Sever, with Deltacron taking a supporting role.

When they had killed it, the creature dissolved into a fluid, and then even this remnant faded out of existence, leaving behind a strange jug, or jar, about a foot tall and bearing the head of a baboon at the top. The party felt they knew exactly what to do with this, but first they examined the rest of the room; which they found to be quite different to the previous two. The 20' by 30' room had two oval shaped windows on the opposite wall which, amazingly, allowed them to see outside of the pyramid. Giuseppe stared out through one of them, getting the impression that they may have been magicked to enhance normal vision. 

Outside was a vast expanse of desert; the Dry Domains, with hardly a break in the endless formation of dunes stretching to the horizon. However, there, at the horizon, Giuseppe thought he could see something moving; though it was yet too far away to make out the details of the object. He resolved to return and check on its progress after exploring further. Another unusual feature in the centre of the room was a small rectangular outline with a partially clear section on the surface of a stone console; when pressed it popped opened and revealed two small spindles side by side about an inch or so apart. The players felt they had an idea what this was.

They now returned to the main 16 pillar room and informed the Elves and Irish and Dervish what was happening. They placed the jar in the niche and were rewarded with an audible hum as it locked in place. Before continuing on they persuaded the Elves to accompany them as back up, and then proceeded to explore down the front "arms" of the tomb. Each arm lead to many smaller tombs on either side, each of these had been desecrated and the contents were gone; possibly consumed by the Githro drones? However, four jars were present in each tomb; though less ornate, they were much like the one they had already found, and were topped with Baboon, Jackal, Human, and Falcon heads. 

Canopic jars contain organs removed from the body in the process
of mummification: the lungs, liver, intestines, and stomach

At the end of the western arm was a 30' by 50' room with four doors leading back north, through one of these they found a 10' by 30' room with huge metal "blades" that ran the length of the room and appeared to be embedded in the stone floor. Inside was another red mummy, this time with a Jackal's head. They beat it down with the help of the elves, but not before it had nearly killed Deltracon. To no one's surprise this enemy yielded a jar with a Jackal's head.

They repeated the process of exploration down the eastern arm, finding it much they same except for one room in which they scored 500 platinum pieces; then they hit the jackpot: Kangsta Wrapper's empty tomb. The room featured a huge, ornate and empty sarcophagus; the walls were lined with frames holding discs fashioned from platinum, and on the far wall were small rectangular objects filled with weird tape on reels. There were also four pillars, each of which held a familiar empty niche with spaces for canopic jars. This was a conundrum; there were two places you could put Kangsta's canopic jars?

In an adjacent room was another series of 30' long metal blades, much thought went into what they could be for; while through a door with the hieroglyph for 'silence' was a strange room with odd sound dampening acoustics, the purpose of which was a mystery. They grabbed anything that was loose, including the platinum discs and rectangular 'tape' boxes and headed back to the room with the 16 Pillars. 

From there they explored the adjacent rooms: finding in one pillars made up of smaller cylinders and a human canopic jar niche; another held strange vats with liquids associated with digestion; the last held pillars like large tapering cylinders, a falcon canopic jar niche, and the fourth Githro Mummy. With the four jars in their possession, they added them to the niches in the "wing" rooms. 

I don't know what they were expecting to happen; but, when the last jar was secure in its niche, the whole place started vibrating. From where they were standing in the 16 pillar room they saw all of the doors leading up to the "window" room had opened. They decided to see what was going on up there, as well as checking if there was any change in the situation outside. The shaking continued as they moved up. Outside the formerly unidentifiable object on the horizon had grown to a huge creature, similar in some ways to the T-Rex they had fought a few sessions back; but way bigger.

"It's the [REDACTED] Dakersaurus," -- Sever

What to do? They placed the rectangular tape holder thing into the console and closed the lid. In response the half sarcophagi started lighting up with glowing hieroglyphics; and a formerly blank section of wall activated, it was a "communication frame" like those they had seen in other parts of the pyramid. The typically stoic Robopriest could be seen there, with a frantic Weird al-hotep along side him.

Their infodump covered these facts: in consuming Kangsta's canopic jars, the Githro had activated a fail safe that prevented anyone teleporting out of the tomb. To re-enable this (and, incidentally, allow them to return to Machodor), they needed to replace the jars into the slots in the room with his sarcophagus; however, there was now the threat of the Dakersaurus, to handle that threat the canopic jars needed to be in the alternative slots that the PCs had put them in. As for how this would help, it would be easier to show them than tell them.

The PC's sat down in the half sarcophagi, Sever held his sword Were'sbane before him and let it read out the meaning of the writing. Sever, in the middle seat, had the glyphs for Command, Outside+Audio, and many others besides; Giuseppe had Flight+Control, Large+Missiles, & Multi+Missiles; Deltacron had Talons and Close+Combat. What could it all mean?

Suddenly, the world outside seemed to rush at them and they felt a powerful force pushing them into their seats; and then they were dropping downwards. They realised that the whole place was moving forward, out of the pyramid, and onto the sandy desert plains. The Hieracosphinx had come to life! The windows were its eyes, and they now flashed on with purpose.

Mecha-Hieracosphinx GO!

Ahead loomed the bulk of the Dakersaurus; it noticed them and, deciding they were a threat, bellowed a challenge then charged. Giueseppe activated the flight controls and the Sphinx leapt into the air, from the resultant change in the displayed glyphs - rapidly translated by Were'sbane - he saw that they could maintain flight for up to 6 turns.

I had thought from here they might get into a traditional Kaiju fight, but cooler heads prevailed. Sever immediately sized up the situation and declared they had to lead the monster back to its lake to the north west of the Dry Domains. But first, they had to make sure they really had the monster's attention.

To use the capabilities of the Mecha-Sphinx, the appropriate command sequence phrases had to be precisely enunciated,

Sever used Command sequence 1: 

"The [TARGET] doesn't know it but he's a dead man walking.

Making wishes, like he was Macaulay Culkin?

All that magic, but there's nothing you can do

When we erase you like Trump from Home Alone 2"

I cannot convey just how funny this was at the time. The words echoed out of the mouth of the Sphinx, and the mix tape took over from there. 

Giuseppe then used Command sequence 2 twice:

 "The people come from miles around

To hear my rhymes and tremble at my sounds

The only people who are coming to you

Are there for your head, and your [TARGET LOCATION] too."

A series of small missiles, then a volley of giant rockets, smashed into the Dakersaurus, doing ridiculous amounts of damage; but the creature was un-phased and soon its regeneration ability began to repair its wounds.

The Dakersaurus responded by opening its mouth and zapping them with a lightening bolt. Glyphs flashed in front of Giuseppe, indicated damage to the wings and a reduction in overall fuel capacity; but, fortunately, it seemed that it could only use this attack once. 

Unfortunately for Deltacron, since they were avoiding melee there was no reason to use his Command Sequence 3:

"The rat king's assassin fell on my blades

The count's vampire girls failed in their raids

I'm just sad that [TARGET] won't die by my hands

I'm too busy spreading my rhymes all over the lands"

So he did it anyway and the giant metal blades slashed through empty air.

After this the creature appeared to realise that it could hear the fabled Kangsta's mix tape as long as it followed the Mecha-sphinx, so it settled in for what would be a long trip.

Cue Indiana Jones music

After seven days of taking it in turns with the Irish and Elves to crew the Sphinx, they finally reached the Lake. Nothing encountered along the way was interested in messing with them. Seeing its home and knowing deep down that it was way past its bed time, the Dakersaurus sank beneath the surface; perhaps to return next year. Here the Elves also bid their farewells and left, their territory being nearby. 

In another week and low on rations, the party had completed retracing their path. Again they had not encountered anything (this was a bit of a disappointment) and were able to park the Sphinx back in the pyramid, replace the canopic jars, and get ready to return home. Weird al-hotep was very grateful for their efforts and anxious to get them back to Machodor; perhaps he was influenced by the idea of being the only senior cleric remaining to explain these events to Lil Nubi when he returned.

The end of Brovenloft for another year, hope to see you next year!


Treasure and XP



Trollopulous Adjusted Session 46 (Machodor #23)


Monetary Treasure

500pp loose
16 Platinum Discs 

Total: 3300gp

Monsters

4 Githro Kangsta Simulacra 2000 XP

Dakersaurus: Much goodwill and bragging rights in Brovenloft and beyond

Items
Mix Tape of the Kangsta (Unknown)

Treasure Total:   3300 XP

Monsters Total: 2000 XP


XP & GP Assignment N/A 

Giuseppe(Level 6, E )  2189 XP & 1523 GP
Sever (Level 6, E ) 2189 XP & 1513 GP
Deltacron (Level 1, E )  920 XP & 253 GP


Graveyard


Jacques Ocular (Level 1 Magic User), a fat green worm burrowed into his head and turned him into a Son Of Kyuss in Brovenloft in Session #43

Pino (Dwarf Footman level 0), Killed by a Frost Giant axe in the head in session #39

Paro (Dwarf Fighter/Thief level 2/2) , Killed by Winter Wolves and frozen in session #39

Zabib (1/2 Elf Fighter/Magic User level 1/1), Killed by Frost Giant rocks in downtime prior to session #39

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...