Friday, April 20, 2018

Greyhame Mountain Dungeon Expedition 27

Orcs have returned to the caverns of the Glimmervaults ...
the Goblin King and the Lord of Werewolves have renewed their ancient alliance in the dungeons beneath the Howling Tower ...
the secret treasury of the Bronding Kings is said to lie hidden behind the Brokenbrand Falls, enchanted by haunting naiads ...
Jaer the Windlord looks down on the world below from the Eyries of the Eagles atop the Greyhame Mountain itself ...
and the Stars themselves are singing an eerie, eldritch song, night after night ...

5 April's roster:
June (cleric 1)
July (half-Elf magic-user 1)
Aethelwulf (paladin 4)
Lead (cleric 4)
Blackleaf (Elf 4?)
Koko (woman-ape 2)
Little Bob (travelling-man 5)
Kord (half-orc fighter 4/cleric 4)
Ham (cleric 4)
Thaddeus (fighter 1)
and sundry mercenary hirelings, though no dogs this go-around

In town, Aethelwulf bought a bee-stinger dagger from a passing merchant (from d12 oddments table).

Little Bob hired a merchant to go south to specifically find and bring him snake-killing weasels, spending 300 gold for the service; seeing this, Kord did the same, but spent 600 gold for the fellow to seek out orc mastiffs. The merchants won't return for another two sessions at least (one week travel there, one week back, at minimum).

The party then put their heads together ... and conspired to infiltrate Oakridge Castle to kill/kidnap Morholt, the usurper-lord who had taken power after the late lord Albrecht III died--and to boot, Morholt had taken the widow of Albrecht, Lady Sonora, prisoner and held her with the intent to force marriage upon her--until our heroes put an end to that plot by freeing her!

So, their plan was to repeat the success they had had with the last infiltration mission when they rescued Sonora, except that this time the entire party was going to climb the tower to penetrate the keep. From Sonora, they learned that Morholt's chambers were "down the hall from my prison, and on the right. You can't miss it."

Okay, so the party marched their way out of town and around to the northwest to the north side of the ridge on which the castle of Oakridge overlooks the village of Brakeridge to the south. They kept to the trees; and though the treeline had been cut back from the castle's walls, it turns out that spells like sleep and hold person have a range of 240 yards when outside of dungeons, which is pretty much like a lobbed longbow shot. So the 12 guards on the two turrets of the keep, 6 on the west turret, 6 on the east, were all well within range, even with the characters lurking in the trees.

So Blackleaf cast sleep over the west group, and all of the guards fell into a magical sleep. The guards on the east tower failed to notice; Blackleaf cast another sleep spell sent 4 into a magical sleep. As the last two guards stood by, trying to figure out what just happened, Kord cast a hold person spell at them and they failed their saves.

Koko then used her ape-ness to climb up the keep's walls and cast down ropes, and the party slaughtered all the sleeping and held guards, all without alerting any of the other guards on the other turrets. On the keep, a trap door opened down into the interior; the party dropped through and found themselves in an E-W corridor with a door pretty much in front of them (and down the hall to their left was the door into Sonora's former chambers).

Blackleaf used ESP through the door and detected a human thinking about his lordship and other more alien thoughts. This must be Morholt's room, the party said, but then dithered in the hallway long enough that a hear noise check for those inside the room succeeded. The door cracked open; a large spider peeked out and whispered to Koko, "Go up the ladder and shout."

Koko failed her save against spells and immediately turned to do what was said, but Ham cast a hold person spell on her, and she failed that save too, so she was paralyzed. The party then burst through the door! But the guy on the inside was ready, and initiative was rolled ...

So as Kord burst through the door, he was met by a sword swung by the thickly-muscled arm of a consummate fighting-man, broad-shouldered and narrow hipped, hair dark, face blackened with a fighting-grimace. At his feet were two serpents that also struck out at Kord and Aethelwulf.

Over the next couple rounds, Kord took several hard hits from the man's sword; meanwhile, Kord and Aethelwulf each took a bite from a serpent, and both failed their saves. Both took an antivenin passed forward from those in the back; Kord made his second save, but Aethelwulf failed his, and as the paladin's heart began to palpitate wildly and sweat break out over his pallid skin, he fell over dead the next round.

But then Lead threw a hold person spell at the warrior, and he failed his save, and became suddenly rigid and unable to act. The serpents were both quickly slain, and the party piled into the room.

Blackleaf's ESP established that this man was indeed Morholt. The party disarmed him, and tied him up (as well as they could with him being rigidly paralyzed). Then they heard a knock at the door: "M'lord, are you okay? We heard shouting ..."

"No, no, perfectly fine!" someone in the party shouted back gruffly. "It was nothing--just knocked a desk over!"

A high reaction roll and cowed servants led to the servants slinking away, back down the hallway, leaving the party to do what they might to loot the chambers. They found themselves in a kind of antechamber with tapestries and with shelves of books. Through a second door, they found the master's chambers, with a number of obviously lootable items--a boar-hunting spear on the wall with a hunting horn, robes of fox and ermine furs, etc. etc.

The party grabbed what seemed easily movable and then headed back out to the corridor to go up the trapdoor and escape. But they heard thoughts/talking on the wall above. They almost talked themselves out of going up out of fear, but finally agreed to send someone up the ladder with Morholt and a dagger at his throat to try to get the guards above to surrender.

What ultimately happened, though, is that once the party got up onto the fighting-floor of the keep's roof, they had to fight through six guards, and try to prevent other groups of guards running to intercept them from other turret-tops. Blackleaf poured oil on the stairs and lit it on fire to prevent other guards from getting to the fighting-floor while Kord held the line against the last few guards. Six more guards were killed in the melee, but the party managed to descend their ropes while the oil-fires held the last few guards at bay.

So they had captured Morholt! They agreed to take him to Sonora; and she elected to take him and a number of her loyal fighting-men and go north to the courts of Vialar, the king of this northern kingdom, and to sue Morholt in the king's courts for his injustice in usurping the castle of Oakridge and holding Sonora hostage.

Meanwhile, other party members took Aethelwulf's body to Lailith, local cleric high enough level to raise dead. She raised him, but alas, Aethelwulf came back with heart palpitations left over from the poison's effects, so he heals at half the normal rate from his sickliness. He paid Axxl the Mask 2000 gold to research means of ending these palpitations ...

And lastly, Lead and Astia (Lead's hireling-woman) caroused, and Astia had a wild trip with some powerful drugs so that she feels like she has some kind of insight that she can call up as to the nature of reality, or something! And also, she earned her way out of normal womanness to being a full-fledged character.


Remembrance for the Fallen:
Clara and Ilana (normal women), Marlo and a number of dogs, Gram, Dorcas, Frida, and Johann Haybaler (normal hirelings), Hauka and Wilmerand (weasels), Blade and Boar (boarhounds), Hubert the Peacock and Lysimmachus (normal men), a nameless mastiff, Livy (normal man), Orkie (orc mastiff), Fang (boarhound), Droopy and Snoopy (mastiffs), Dream Destroyer (ghosthound), Arrow (pack dog), Freyja (normal woman), a nameless cur, Hot Dog and Cross (mastiffs), Orion II (lion dog), Bacon (boarhound), Tore (half-orc fighter 1/cleric 1), Jimmy the Snitch (dog), Orion (lion dog), Harambe (man-ape 1)

and for those Enchanted away:
Dol (fyrdman hireling)

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