Wednesday 10 April 2024

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 61 (Machodor #30);

       

Foreshadowing

Timekeeping


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)


Introduction 


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

Downtime


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)

Treasure
6 Candelabra and 1 Chalice 7000gp

Items
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

Monsters

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


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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