Wednesday 24 April 2024

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 62 (Machodor #31); The Black Knight



This session took place on 07/03/2024, and the PCs adventured for 4 days.

Player Characters Present

Giuseppe (Level 6 Paladin of Rome, Brovenloft, E) with henchmen Bishoy & Tawadros (F2)
Sever (Level 6 Pegasus Corps Ranger of Machodor, E)
Deltacron (Level Dwarf 1 Fighter/Thief, E ) 
Red (Level 1 Paladin, E )
Gurt the Green (Level 1 Paladin, E )
Sheamus (Level 6 Irish Fighter from Brovenloft, E ) 
Bumblebore (Level 4 Magic User, E ) 
Slippery Pete (Level 4 Thief, S)


The party's travels through the Bandit Mountains finally start wrapping up some lose threads that had been kicking around for months. This was a really fun session where long time players explained obscure lore built up over the last year or so to the newer players.


While at Minas Mandalf getting the captured notes from the strange clock-work-giant contraption under Gimmelwald magically translated; Sever ran into Treefingers, a fellow Pegasus Scout and former PC. He and Rhedgar, Almaricky, and others had just finished a mission for the Hawkman leader Luro in the crashed Sky City. They returned many energy gems from the parts of the city controlled by Kenku and Old Ones. "It was quite a blast." 

He warned Sever that preparations for Luro to lift off in his quadrant of the city were well under way, and part of this preparation will limit the projection of power from the city that helps power the Rocket Cycle and recharge the hand energy weapons the party have acquired. 

Without the power broadcast from the city the Rocket Cycle will need one hour to recharge for every three hours of flight, and the booster may only be used once a day. Energy weapons will only be able to fire at full power once per day.

Most of the party shrugged off this news, all except for Sheamus, the owner of the Rocket Cycle.

Session Report

First, a close by loose end from last session. They finished breakfast at the Gorgon's Head and made their way across town to the house with a basement that lead to the tomb of Sir Isaac the Brutal. The place was much like the two tombs they explored last session, a fairly simple stone box with a sarcophagus on the center of the floor bearing the name of its occupants, and also and an effigy of a knight in armour with sword, and shield with broken bones heraldry on it. The party used their various detection abilities without result and so felt no need to slide off the lid and peer inside. Slippery Pete argued strongly that they should make sure there was no undead inside, but he was over ruled by the three paladins in the party.

Having tied up the loose end, and with the clock work giant room safely locked and guarded, they put their minds to what they should do next. There were some big picture goals that they had left unattended for a while. Sheamus, owner and pilot of their captured Rocket Cycle argued they should go back to the Sky City for the first time since last year and "take it over".

In the end the consensus, including the new guys who had to take in a lot of history from the last year of gaming, was to make the trek north to the Valley of Fear, and down into the depths below the stronghold of the Robopriest, sometimes called the Gassy Fortress, which they had reason to believe was now passable after their efforts in Brovenloft. This could represent a short cut to the lair of Lord Inferno, the high value target much of their efforts had gone into finding.  

Thanks to having such a large party, and also with the need to take Giuseppe's mount Bonecrusher and those of his two henchmen along, they set off at ground level with Sever, taking point in the sky on his Pegasus, easily keeping pace. The day passed uneventfully, but as evening approached and they passed the crossroads valley south of Castle Von Necro, he spotted an usual sight ahead; on the floor of the valley below there was a tent pitched in the path of a patrol of men-at-arms from Castle Irish. Nearby, a Knight in black was setting up to joust a knight from the patrol. 

Finally after months of fruitless downtime searching, they had simply run into the Black Knight as a random encounter!

You don't see that everyday

As the party approached they saw the final bout between the Black Knight and Sir Rofolo from Castle Irish. The latter broke his lance and in return was unhorsed and knocked out. His men came to help him and the Black Knight rode his huge, black horse back to his tent and sat there impassively as the party rolled up. The PCs checked on the fallen knight and got the lowdown on what had happened from his men-at-arms, which was pretty much what they had just seen.

Then the Black Knight spoke up, "Who will challenge me? He who wins may take my magic armour!"

I wasn't sure who, if any, of the PCs would take up this challenge; but, after a few repeats and taunts from the Black Knight, Giuseppe accepted his challenge and prepared Bonecrusher.

the venerable Jousting rules from Chainmail

Once I dropped the Jousting rules in the chat the excitement soon ratcheted up; but I didn't expect the next development, Sheamus was certain there must be betting involved in such a contest, and announced 300gp on Giuseppe to win. Immediately Slippery Pete took that bet, and two of the Irish men-at-arms did too (I gave them a very low chance for this but the roll came up anyway).

We had a few practice goes at the rock-paper-scissors style of resolution, then started for real. Meanwhile Slippery Pete had offered to help Giuseppe prepare, but the latter's two henchmen shooed him away (and he tried to think of some other use for the Oil of Slipperiness he was trying to deploy to win the bet), probably earning their monthly pay right there.

Round 1: Giuseppe went for the top centre of the Black Knight's shield while leaning to the left. The Black Knight went for the middle left of Giuseppe's shield and kept a steady seat. This resulted in the Black Knight missing but Giuseppe broke his lance. As the two combatants passed each other on the way back to their starting places, the Knight offered to let the Paladin replace his broken lance with one of his own if needed. Giuseppe accepted the offer to replace his lance, but chose a spare one from the Irish men at arms instead.

Meanwhile, Slippery Pete was eyeing the mysterious tent; it flew a banner reminiscent of the one seen at Castle Von Necro.

Round 2: Giuseppe went for his opponent's helm while keeping a steady seat, the Black Knight repeated his first move and went for the middle left of Giuseppe's shield and kept a steady seat. This resulted in the Black Knight breaking his lance and having his helmet knocked off by Giuseppe, revealing a face underneath that appeared human, but was heavily drawn and whose eyes were startlingly red. There was a gasp from near Sheamus and one of the men-at-arms who had taken his bet blurted out, "That's Sir Gwayne, there's no mistaking it." It seemed that Sir Gwayne was a knight of Castle Irish who had recently gone missing.

As the Black Knight, who seemed oblivious to the discussion, again passed Giuseppe, he asked if the Paladin would return the favour of letting him replace his lance, and Giuseppe agreed. The knight rode back to the tent, went in, and shortly reappeared with a long lance, one that should have been longer than the tent could easily contain; was it a folding lance or something? Was there more to the tent than met the eye? Plans were soon hatched to find out. The slightly sketchy contingent of the party put their heads together and they decided that Bumblebore would cast Invisibility on Slippery Pete during the next round, hopefully when the knight was too distracted to notice.

Round 3: Although he had replaced his lance, the Black Knight had not replaced his helmet, and Giuseppe wasn't going to pass up that target. However, the creature that was once Sir Gwayne cheated somewhat and pulled a move that was only possible if he was wearing a helm! The manoeuvre caused Giuseppe's lance to miss, but the Black Knight was only able to again shatter his lance on the other's shield. 

Giuseppe of the low rolls had won the joust! 

Shaemus immediately started collecting his winnings while Slippery Pete, now invisible, snuck into the tent. The Black Knight congratulated Giuseppe and also went into the tent. A few moments passed as frantic words went back and forth over discord while I consulted the "Detection of Invisibility" table (DMG p60), then the Black Knight re-emerged holding another suit of black armour and shortly afterwards Slippery Pete reappeared. Even I don't know what he told the other characters about the  inside the tent.

With that done the Black Knight left the armour with Giuseppe. His black steed transformed into a Nightmare and went ethereal. The tent then also disappeared. When the wonder of this has passed, since night was soon to fall, they decided to camp in this location and went on to Castle Irish the next day. Here they explained the situation to the patrons in charge, Connor McGregor and Sir Troland, and for once I think I pulled off a pretty good Irish accent (to be shure). In returned they learned that a large mercenary force was ahead of them on the road to the Valley of Fear, though no one knew what its purpose was.

Next morning they set off for the domain of the Robopriest, passing sure signs that the mercenary company, who they had been told flew the sign of a coin set on a sword, had gone ahead of them down a wider valley than the narrower route they intended to use. The party decided not to follow but to continue by the narrow way, passing the settlement of Ringo Star and his misfit cavemen, and making the Fortress, before which the mercenary company were now camped, in the late afternoon.

They were made welcome by the Robopriest himself and had dinner that night with him and his guest, the merchant trader Mangus. This fellow hailed from Minas Mandalf and had travelled to the area with a large mercenary guild force to negotiate a business deal. At the time the players weren't too interested but things got more development on this front in downtime (and later in the Battle Braunstein). 

Having confirmed the truth of the rumours that the fear gas was now inert, the next morning the party set off accompanied by the Ed the Ranger, the Robopriest's henchman; who showed them the location in the dungeons below that lead to a vast natural cavern, at its end was a huge winding passage heading downwards. The ceiling here was covered in slow moving piercers and they were instructed to move swiftly to get past them and into the hole beyond; "You have thirty seconds to comply,"  Ed instructed. 

Click to enlarge this incredible piece of art

The party scampered to comply and some hours of travel later emerged into a natural cave system near to a stone wall of familiar construction, the work of Fire Newts. They traced this back Southwest to where a Fire Newt fort guarded the approach from a huge lava tunnel, apparently connecting to the very same one which they had explored in previous sessions. They were now confident that the route from the Fortress of Fear was a short cut that allowed them to bypass several forts. They reversed course and followed the passage Northeast until it terminated, revealing an incredible sight. Before them was a huge cavity in what must be the base of the volcano, a sea of lava of unknown depth filled this area completely. In the center of this sea was an island connected by a causeway to another Fire Newt fort near them on this side of the sea, and on this island itself was a Fire Newt city. Behind the city could be seen a column of magical fire that stretched all the way to the ceiling of the chamber far above. As best as they could reckon, this was quite likely directly below the lair of Lord Inferno.

Fire Newt City

However, other than the causeway, which was heavily patrolled, there was no obvious means to get to the city other than crossing the lava sea, which itself was patrolled by Fire Newts mounted on Giant Striders. They began working their way through the caverns to the east in the hope of finding something that might help. Here they encountered a (Hot) Water Weird and were very lucky not to lose someone to its embrace. The battle was a stalemate until Red, who had the magic hammer looted last session, smashed the thing so hard that it was disrupted long enough for them to loot some gems and coins that were sitting on a ledge just under the surface of the water. Now more than happy with the results of their recon, the party returned to the Gassy Fortress to make plans for another assault.

Treasure and XP

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 62 (Machodor #32)

Treasure & Items
13 Gems sold to Magnus the Merchant for 6000gp
Black Knight Field Plate Armour 2000gp (the party treated this very carefully)

Total XP 8250


actually none, the Black Knight and the Hot Water Weird were defeated but not killed.

Total 0 XP

8250 XP &  8250 GP Assignment weighted by level

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 62 (Machodor #31)
Giuseppe (Level 6, E ) 1478 XP & 1478  GP
 Tawdros (Level 2 hench, E) 246 XP & 246 GP
 Bishoy (Level 2 hench, E) 246 XP  & 246 GP
Sheamus(Level 6, E ) 1478 XP &1478  GP 
Sever (Level 6, E ) 1478 XP &1478  GP 
Slippery Pete (Level 6, E )1478  XP & 1478 GP 
Dundermoose (Level 4, E ) 985 XP & 985 GP
Deltacron (Level 1/2, E ) 370 XP & 370 GP
Red (Level 1, E ) 246  XP &  246  GP
Gurt the Green (Level 1, E )  246 XP & 246  GP


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 10 April 2024

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 61 (Machodor #30);




This session took place on 29/02/2024, and the PCs adventured for 1 day.

Player Characters Present

Giuseppe (Level 6 Paladin of Rome, Brovenloft, E) with henchmen Bishoy & Tawadros (F2)
Sever (Level 6 Pegasus Corps Ranger of Machodor, E)
Deltacron (Level Dwarf 1 Fighter/Thief, E ) 
Red (Level 1 Paladin, E )
Sheamus (Level 6 Irish Fighter from Brovenloft, E ) 
Bumblebore (Level 4 Magic User, E ) 
Slippery Pete (Level 4 Thief, S)


Under the town of Gimmelwald a simple low prep encounter gets complicated.


After successfully recapturing the town of Gimmelwald, the were signs the fanatic pilgrims who attacked them had been digging around the town searching for something. Since then three excavated basements had been discovered that lead to the underground tombs that predated the town and the castle it was built on: Baron Abel Alaric & Baroness Alaric, Sir Isaac the Brutal, and Monsignor Jorge de Burgos, 

Bumblebore, short on funds, had made a deal with the Wizard Sarumin for training; he would cast Magic Mouth 100 times on the big beautiful new wall the wizard was creating to seal off the south of the valley. He would also let the Wizard experiment on borrow his familiar, O'Malfoy, for some weeks.

Session Report

After breakfasting at the Griffon's Head, they made their way across town and started their investigation by going into the basement leading to the tomb of Baron & Baroness Alaric. The place was a fairly simple stone tomb with a sarcophagus bearing the names of its occupants, and also featured an effigy of the couple holding hands. The party felt the need to slide off the lid and peer inside, but after this and finding the bodies undisturbed and no: traps, secret doors, or monsters; they did not want to disturb the eternal rest of the couple and and decided to continue elsewhere. Slippery Pete was kind enough to help Shaemus slide the lid back into place.

They chose Monsignor Jorge de Burgos next over Sir Isaac the Brutal, and were soon examining a similar sized tomb, the main difference was that the lid of the sarcophagus was plain; with the only adornment being the name of the occupant. Giuseppe detected evil from the area, but it wasn't clear precisely where this sense was coming from. They cautiously slid the lid open and peered inside, finding the body in remarkable state of preservation (except it wore a hideous rictus grin) but was is actually fake, and hid a trapdoor down into a shrine below.

The shrine was roughly the same size as the tomb above and featured an altar on one wall with bas-relief inlays of dismembered human bodies and waves blood. A mural above the altar held scenes of devils lording it over large winged creatures. What really got the party's attention was 6 candelabra and a chalice, made of gold, all with similar motifs.

Using his spear, Red carefully swept the gold items off the altar onto the floor, deftly avoiding a very nasty trap. Someone followed this up by pouring holy water on the altar, causing it to fizz and dissolve, but one flask was not enough and there was some logistical juggling to get the loot out and more holy water in; but eventually the whole altar was cleansed and dissolved.

Bumblebore backed away from the sight into the opposite corner, as he did so a stone shifted under his feet. Removing the stone revealed part of a broad spiral stair going down deep into the earth. The party descended with Slippery Pete in the lead. The stair wound down and down and then spilled onto a landing at one end of a 60' long corridor. The corridor was lined with alcoves on both sides and, with his Continual Light coin, the thief could see that it terminated in very large bronze double doors. He checked the first alcove and found himself staring into the eye sockets of a bare skeleton; which immediately came to life and attacked. As it did so Slippery Pete heard the sounds of other clacking bones moving from behind him. 

Pete had a grand idea of grappling the skeleton in front of him and throwing it at the "one" behind him, but at the end of the round he found himself on top of that skeleton and with three more skeletons on top of him, with various holds from the grappling table in play. He did manage to get out a dignified call for help, so next round the party caught up to him. That should have been about it; but the skeletons managed to hang on through a turning attempt, and with their "half damage vs edged weapons" they took some putting down.

Sheamus went with his fists and once the last skeleton was pummelled to shards, the party reset and approached the bronze double doors. These proved impervious to their attempts to open them, until Bumblebore came forward with his latest spell: Knock.

The 15' tall doors swung open to reveal a large circular room about 60' in diameter with a very high ceiling. Evenly spaced along the wall of the room were six extremely life-like statues of giants. To the left of the door was a Hill Giant, this was followed by a Stone Giant, then Frost, Fire and Cloud Giants, and lastly a towering Storm Giant to the right of the door. In the centre of the room was a statue of an even bigger creature, towering over 25' tall, wearing a toga and with a huge shield at its feet. It was surrounded by a series of six cup like objects, also made from stone; these were like an egg cup attached to a long, wine-glass like stem which was stuck right into the floor of the room. 

The central statue held a huge stone book open in its right hand, and what appeared to be a set of lids for the cups in its left. Standing on its huge hands were three figures in platemail armour, two on its left hand and one behind the book on its right. Chanting emanated from the direction of these figures, and in the radius of their Continual Light it was also clear that the Titan statue and the "cups" stood within a circle of dung, twenty feet in diameter, inscribed on the floor.

No thought was given to negotiation, the players took up various positions and attacked. Crucially, Slippery Pete drew out his Hawkman Handcrossbow to shoot at the cleric standing in the right hand of the statue, who had 75% cover from the book in the statue's hand. The party lost initiative, and the three clerics were going to cast Spiritual Hammer; their initiative die roll was high enough that these spells would have all completed, except that Pete's high Dexterity reaction bonus improved his initiative to the point that he shot first. 

He missed, but I ruled that this was due to the cover provided by the stone book, therefore his energy bolt discharged into it (these weapons work in a similar manner to a Javelin of Lightening) and then projected out a bolt directly behind it where the cleric was standing. The cultist made his save for half damage; but still had his spell ruined, and so only two Spiritual Hammers were successful. Also, and I never anticipated this, by passing through the stone book the energy bolt caused the entire contraption to start vibrating, and begin to do what ever it was built to do. Giuseppe sent some arrows aimlessly into the room without effect.

After this the three two Spiritual Hammers crashed down into the party; what they didn't know at this stage was that these attacks were augmented by another cleric, hidden, Chant-ing, as well as a Prayer cast when the party Knocked the door; and the entire area within the circle of dung was covered by Protection from Good. Instinctively, no one wanted to cross that circle, and even if they did cross it their enemies were still 20 feet above them; which left the players with missile weapons as their main option to respond. Sadly, Bumblebore had already expended his Macho Mandalf's Flying Elbow against the skeletons; it would have been ideal for this situation.

Deltacron began to execute a cunning plan by sneaking off to the left behind the statue of the Hill Giant and readying his darts.

Next round the third cleric brought another Spiritual Hammer into play, and with the other two smashed into the players, those with shields tried to protect those without, but they were generally milling about wondering what to do; except for Giuseppe who lost another two arrows (no I don't mean loosed).

Then the hill giant statue began to slide forward towards the circle of cups, from its side it produced a long ladle-like object which it then "emptied" into the cup in front of it. Deltracron used this movement to his advantage as he climbed up the statue and then let loose with three darts, but they proved ineffective.

Having spent some time absorbing what admittedly was a complicated ToTM situation, now the party sprang into action: Bumblebore cast Invisibility on Sever while Shaemus provided cover with his shield, then the Ranger run forward with a grappling hook and rope. Red chose to try and hammer in some spikes to stop one of the other statues from moving (nice try but they were too strong for that). Slippery Pete had spent a round disguising himself as one of the clerics, and now moved forward, hoping in the confusion he could scale the side of the Titan statue unopposed.  Meanwhile, Giuseppe stood behind the shields of his henchmen and kept the enemy at least theoretically honest with his bow fire. The enemy Hammers came in again and Shaemus managed to parry one while another nearly ended Red's career as a Paladin before it had really started.

Sever reached a position behind the left shoulder of the Titan statue and let fly with his grappling hook, but it failed to latch on (I applied all the negatives from the overlapping spells to his roll, which might have been over doing it). He had another go the next round and this time was successful, so he began climbing to the top of the left shoulder of the Titan, as Slippery Pete climbed up its right. Bumblebore, with nothing else he could do, decided to take off his cloak and use it to mop up the circle of dung on the floor, he hoped that this would somehow effect the spell he guessed to be associated with it. Meanwhile, the various giant statues were continuing to move, and Deltacron stayed with them in an attempt to both not get hit and try to hit back with his darts.

Sever attained the top of the Titan statue's shoulder, ran for the two Clerics standing on its left hand, and with Weresh'bane dealt one a powerful blow; but on the other hand (literally) Slippery Pete failed to hit the Cleric standing near the open stone book. The clerics turned towards the attackers and pulled out weapons (incidentally cancelling their Spiritual Hammer spells). Their weapons were nasty looking flails, formed so that their heads looked like a fist with one finger stretched out (which finger this was I left to the players as a ToTM exercise). Two flails hit Sever; and, aside from taking damage, everything went dark, he was blind! The other cleric hit Slippery Pete, which brought him down to 1 hit point and Cursed him; the thief's Dexterity dropped to 3! These flails carried the ability to store and transmit touch spells when they hit! 

Initiative went his way, and Slippery Pete downed a precious quaff of Invisibility Potion and then dropped, grabbing onto the arm of the statue and holding on for dear life. Having seen the mixed success of Sever's attack; Shaemus, Red and Giuseppe's two henchmen went around to climb the still attached grappling hook (it having become visible after Sever had let go of it). They got up there just in time for two Hold Person spells to take effect, one of which came from below; there was a 4th Cleric in a cup beneath the Titan's outstretched left arm. The spells held Sever and the two henchmen, but Sheamus and Red were ok, the Irish Fighter dived down into the cup with the last cleric (who had to stop chanting to cast his spell, also at this time the Prayer had worn off and Bumblebore had finished ruining his cloak mopping up the dung, so now the overlapping protections and bonuses the enemy had were no more) and the new Paladin squared off with the two enemy clerics, hitting the wounded one and killing him.

The battle was on a knife's edge and things were looking really bad for the party if the enemy could manage any more Hold Person spells, but everything turned on some successful rolls. Sheamus cut down the cleric before him, Red overbore the cleric in front of him (who missed his chance to stop him with his weapon, which would have opened up a chance to hit him with his recharged curse flail) and sent him tumbling to his death below. Bumblebore, having scrambled up the rope on to the left shoulder of the statue, sized things up and charged across its broad chest, along its right arm (narrowly avoiding the invisible Slippery Pete there) and overbore the cleric leader, who had unwisely started to cast a spell and so was wide open, sending him to his death twenty feet below.

We'd had nearly twenty combat rounds in the session and with everything else going on it was well over time; but, fortunately, with safety very close by it was an easy extraction. The party had prevailed, but had also uncovered new questions: what was this cult and what was its purpose with this bizarre clockwork giant statue mechanism?

Treasure and XP

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 61 (Machodor #30)

6 Candelabra and 1 Chalice 7000gp

4 suits of platemail  (sold) 1360gp
1 cleric scroll (kept)
Potion of Healing (kept) 200 XP
4 "Fist Flails" (handed in in Minas Mandalf, sparking much interest in the clerics there) 8000gp
Hammer of Giant Control (kept) 500 XP

-350gp for Identify

16010 GP & 17,060 XP


20 Skeletons 370XP

4 Cultist Clerics 3984 XP

Total 4354 XP

21414 XP & 16010 GP Assignment weighted by level

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 61 (Machodor #30)
Giuseppe (Level 6, E ) 3978 XP & 3150 GP
Sheamus(Level 6, E ) 3978 XP & 3150 GP 
Sever (Level 6, E ) 3978 XP & 3150 GP 
Slippery Pete (Level 6, S ) 3978 XP & 3150 GP 
Dundermoose (Level 4, E ) 2859 XP & 2100 GP
Deltacron (Level 1/2, S ) 1461 XP & 787 GP
Red (Level 1, E )  1181 XP &  525 GP


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 66 (Machodor #32); Battle Braunstein!

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