Wednesday 24 April 2024

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

        





Timekeeping


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)


Introduction 


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.

Downtime


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
5000sp
13 Gems sold to Magnus the Merchant for 6000gp
Black Knight Field Plate Armour 2000gp (the party treated this very carefully)

Total XP 8250

Monsters

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


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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