Wednesday 3 January 2024

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 52 (Machodor #27); The Hidden Altar

       



Timekeeping


This session took place on 29/12/2023, 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)
Comfort Rod (Level 1 Cleric, E ) 


Introduction 


This was another really fun session to referee, with lots of interaction by the players with the environment in interesting ways, and it was also a big change of pace from last week's session (#26 which I'm still grappling with writing up as of this moment).

Session Report


Again travelling by river barge to their destination, the party reached the River Dungeon without incident.

River Dungeon Level Session 3 Delve 1

Since this is a heavily Appendix A driven session, I'm experimenting with showing the party's route on the map.

The party beached the barge at the same spot and tasked two of the bargemen to keep watch, as usual. There was some discussion about how bright the light was out here and whether it would be a problem for any goblins that came along; but it was established that with the shear walls the light was only bright enough to bother them for about three hours around noon. The bargemen would have be on alert.

The party went straight in directly west, back to the room with the well (A) that was the highlight of their previous visit. The well had been filled in; I had given this room some thought as part of my overall idea of restocking that might have happened since the previous time the PCs had visited. However, my restocking roll turned up more than this; upon checking, it was only a trick! The goblins had fashioned a rudimentary trap door at the top of the well. When Lance gave it a wrap with his spear the ready goblins threw it open and achieved two segment of surprise. At first I didn't realise this as nearly every session we've had a ranger available, but not this time!

Even with this advantage, the goblins felt the effects of the Lance's Protection from Evil. They reacted immediately (word must have got around about this adventuring party). "Pal'din Pal'din Pal'din!" they cried, and retreated back down into the well. Thinking this might be a trap; rather than pursue, Lance closed the makeshift trapdoor and the PCs used Comfort Rod's rope and other items to secure it in place so that the goblins could not push it open again to follow them.

This done, they went through the south door and into uncharted territory; and immediately they found two small chests just sitting there undefended. This was actually a chamber; but as it had a two doors and no archways, how would anyone know? I found this bit of Appendix A trivia interesting enough to mention; but it didn't draw a response, I guess the prospect of two treasure chests was more compelling.

Larrinod cast Detect Magic, but found nothing magical in the chests or in the area nearby. Marty borrowed a spear and leveraged open one chest, finding and amazing 100 platinum coins inside, then followed up with the same result in the other chest. The coinage was supported by a certain amount of worthless dross, the meaning of which I have since forgotten. They spilled the contents out without touching the chests themselves, and this caution turned out to be justified when Larry found small needle tips, embedded in the chests' handles, that would have injected poison into anyone foolish enough to try and pick them up. It was then decided that although this coinage was quite a score, it was not enough to consider calling it a day.

Further exploring led first into a square room (B) with empty packing crates in the corner, the symbol on their sides was of an oil lamp; then into an empty trapezoidal room with a single exit in the south, that went far off into the unknown. Instead of going further that way they back tracked to (B) and went east. This led to a winding corridor, which eventually spilled into a small chamber; here the entire eastern wall incorporated an altar below a fresco of giant creatures worshiping even larger beings.

This display of paganism incensed Lance and Marty, prompting the later to smash the ledge-like section of altar that protruded from the wall. The stone was not as thick nor as sturdy as it seemed and Marty's mace made short work of it; but, within the debris was a hollowed out area containing hundreds of electrum pieces, which now spilled out onto the floor, and, a mace.



Marty, seeing this as a good omen, reached down and grabbed up the weapon; while Larry bemoaned his use of detect magic already, and Lance began to detect evil. The paladin did detect evil, but not from the mace; it was coming out of the wall, accompanied by a ghostly, spectral figure towering fifteen feet tall. 

With three clerics in the party, the call went out to turn undead; but, Marty felt another urge, somehow coming from the mace itself. It wanted him to hit the Spectral being. Though he believed he could have ignored the urge, Marty decided to go with it. This was just as well as none of the three clerics had a chance of being successful at turning the monster. However, the party lost initiative and Marty would have to wait his turn.

The Spectre had his chance to draw first blood (and levels), but, given the room was so small, all the PCs were bunched up inside Lance's Protection from Evil 10' radius, so, given that the Spectre was both evil and summoned, it could not approach close enough to lay a hand on them. How this would have played out next round I leave as an exercise for the reader. Anyway, as it happened there was no next round; Marty stepped forward and laid into the Spectre with the mace (which at AC 2 was no easy feat)  and the creature simply disintegrated. There was much rejoicing.

They gathered up the loose coins (at some point having picked up the 200pp from the earlier chests) and kept exploring south, finding behind a door a small 10' square room filled with goblin excrement, which for some reason they chose not to search. East they found, confusingly to those who had mapped previously, a triangular room just south of one they had explored before. This one had copper coins spread more or less evenly across the floor, which they avoided, and a heavy stone doorway in the south east corner. This proved to be trapped to fall outwards, which it did with a crash; but was of no danger when opened from their side.

Finding themselves in a familiar area, near where previously goblins had dropped oil from a concealed murder hole, they were careful to skirt it and and continued on until they reached the beach, and from there looped back to the barge to stash their loot before going back in. The bargemen reported no encounters (in fact I didn't roll a single random encounter all day).


Delve 2, this time with shoes on.


This time the party's goal was corridor they had been to previously but not fully explored. They quickly moved past familiar rooms and into a room (A) more or less behind the "tapestry room".

There were no apparent exists, but there was a barred pit in the northwest section of the 30' square room. At the bottom of the 15' deep pit was the body of a large humanoid, perhaps an Ogre. The bars were set in a hinged frame, but this was locked down in place. While this was being examined, Larrinod's superior elf senses detected a secret door in the north west of the room; but, as it only went back into the tapestry room, this discovery was not greatly appreciated by his fellows. Further east in room (B) was another sign of the goblins mistreating their captives, in the corner was an Iron Maiden; but I made the players work hard to come to this realisation. 


Within was the body of a human adult, by his clothes perhaps a merchant; they decided to remove it and carry the remains back to the barge for safe keeping and future burial at Minas Mandalf.

Once again, though some hours of delving had passed and they were into the afternoon (carefully tracked with my spindown dice) no random encounters had arrived to disturb them. There was a quick discussion and they all agreed to check out "one more room".


Delve 3

They figured they had the resources for another combat, and Lance led them beyond the "tapestry room" and into the room with lots of empty crates and three south exits they had only partially explored. As they peered south down the middle passage their torch light just picked up that there were goblins entering the same passage from the west. Lance declared a charge and the others backed him up, Comfort Rod joined the front rank with Rowan, Marty stayed ready in the middle; and Larry stayed in the rear, casting Sanctuary. Although you can't go wrong with Cure Light Wounds, I really like it when clerics use utility spells. Would this one pay off?

I hastily had to work out what weapons the goblins had and their planned actions. Then the party won initiative and much of that was moot. Two goblins with spears would have set them against a charge but did not have time to, however weapon length might have still given them the advantage, if it wasn't for the fact that Lance and Rowen had spears of their own (human spears would be longer than goblin spears, right?). 

The two sides crashed into each other and Lance put a goblin down instantly, and another was wounded. Return attacks from the goblins were miserably ineffective. At the end of the round the rear rank of goblins ran off west shouting "Pal'din Pal'din!"; but was there a different tone than before?

Next round it was tied initiative; with the mix of weapons both sides had, the attacks came first mostly from the goblin side; but they again missed their marks. Meanwhile Larrinod had moved down the corridor to stay close to his fellows. One more goblin was down and another injured; but then Larry saw that the ones that had run off earlier had simply circled around and were now behind the party at the other end of the corridor, and they had flasks of oil!


All four goblins wanted to throw their oil at the closest enemy, which was Larrinod, but he was protected with Sanctuary. I ruled that they were not smart enough to consider a different target and instead had them roll versus spells (as per the spell description); none of them passed so none of them threw their oil that round (though they might next round). Given the close proximity to four flasks of oil, even had the goblins missed, each PC would have had to make up to four saves vs splash damage; so Larry's spell probably saved a death or two. You love to see it.

Next round the party adjusted to this new threat; but, thanks to winning initiative and getting another kill in, the goblins had to make a morale check before they could attack again. They failed and fled, in the end only three of them got away. Rowan counted the goblin ears; and the party, having spent about five hours in the dungeon, now went back outside, loaded their loot on the barge, and pushed off. They made it back home safely, with their only encounter being Pegasus borne magical light displays over Minas Mandalf to welcome the Year of our Lord 2024.


Treasure and XP



Trollopulous Adjusted Session 52 (Machodor #27)

Monetary Treasure

750 ep
200 pp
  80 sp (from goblins)

Treasure Total: 1379 GP/XP

Items

Magical Mace, dubbed the Mace of Saint Patrick 1750 XP

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

Reward for returning the merchant's body (found in the Iron maiden): 100 GP

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

Total: 1750XP 108 GP

Monsters

8 Goblins 128XP
1 Spectre 2000XP

Monsters Total: 2128XP


XP & GP Assignment 5257 XP,  1375 GP

Lance Errant (Level 1, E)   1314XP & 365 GP 15 SP
Marty O'Tool (Level 1, E)  1314XP & 365 GP 15 SP
Larrinod (Level 1/1 , E )    1314 XP & 365 GP 15 SP
Comfort Rod (Level 1, E ) 1314 XP & 365 GP 15 SP

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

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