Monday, May 7, 2018

Greyhame Mountain Dungeon Expedition 29

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, haunted by enchanting 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 ...

16 April's roster:
Aethelwulf (paladin 4)
June (cleric 2)
Able (paladin 1)
Ham (cleric 5)
Thaddeus (fighter 2)
Coball (cleric 1)

(and halfway through the session)
Blackleaf (Elf 3)
Koko (woman-ape 2)

In town, Able, newly arrived paladin, hired two Celtic-type men-at-arms, one Vertix, the other Astix. He also acquired for himself two of the available dogs, a bloodhound and a ghosthound.

Aethelwulf, meanwhile, bought the two unique items available this session, a bottle of what was purported to be mead of poetry, the other the fingerbone of a saint. He placed the fingerbone in the pommel of his life-draining sword Drinker, then took the mead of poetry to Aldir the blacksmith. This Aldir had once had a fling with Blackleaf the Elf, but it had fallen by the wayside when Aldir decided he wanted to convert to the Good cult under Aethelwulf's tutelage; but Aethelwulf was interested in getting them together, because if Blackleaf married Aldir, a Good human, then Blackleaf would receive a human soul from the pairing ....

And so Aethelwulf drank of the mead, and spoke to Aldir at length in verse, describing the basic goodness of marriage, and spinning out the mythic tales of men and Elves marrying; perhaps indeed, he sang the Lay of Lethian! And because of the magic in the mead, he was convincing, and Aldir decided that he must ultimately wed Blackleaf.

Still, Aethelwulf had one further piece of business in town. He and the company had rescued several children from the Goblin King's dungeons last time, and now he kept them at the shrine while trying to figure out how to reverse the changes effected on them by the Goblin King's magic to make them into goblins.

Town business dealt with, the party decided on their next course of action--sneak into Oakridge castle to deal with Morrow, son of Morholt the Usurper! Though Morholt had already been captured and sent north, his son retained control of the castle, and now the party wanted to end the usurpation of Sonora's rightful claim to the seat once and for all.

The party sneaked into the dungeons of the castle through a previously revealed secret-entrance on the north side of the ridge. In one room, they burst in on a pair of guards, surprising them as the guards diced at a table. The party's dogs made short work of the men; and what were they guarding? The prison cells. These were filled with typical rabble--drunkards, petty thieves, and the like, and the party left them there. But through another set of doors and corridor they found a semi-newly installed torture chamber, and beyond that an oubliette from whence came a faint weeping.

The prisoner within was hauled out, one Alira, a young woman of the village. She refused to tell the party what exactly Morrow had done to her, and Aethelwulf had his hirelings Lessing and Aquinas escort her out of the dungeon to safety.

The party then proceeded to explore previously explored territory, robbing a couple more crypts of the dead lords below, until they stumbled through the well room and the wine cellar, and up stairs into the kitchen!

Six servants chopping vegetables were interrupted--they immediately fled at the intrusion of armed men, but Aethelwulf called them back, promising their freedom from Morrow's evil rule.

It was at this point that I remembered I had written a short table for "castle business" that I was supposed to use whenever I used the castle ... roll roll ... a feast! "We were preparing for a feast," the servants tell the party.

The natural plan on hearing that was to make it a Red Feast, and the party convinced the servants to let them hide below, and then come and get them when everyone in the castle had assembled for the feast and were into their cups somewhat.

I rolled a wandering encounter check to see if anything happened in the meantime; nothing; so at the duly appointed time, the servants came and led the armed party up through the kitchen to attack the unarmed Morrow and his men.

In the great hall, Morrow was seated at the high seat with his captain of the guard, his magic-user assistant, and six wild-looking men and women, while two dozen of his men-at-arms feasted in the hall below. During the surprise round, the party got a hold person spell off on Morrow and his magic-user and I rolled ... something like a 3 and a 5. So they were paralyzed; everyone else was unarmed, other than their daggers, and unarmored.

It was a slaughter. Even when the wild-men turned into wolves, they stood no chance; and Blackleaf's and Koko's timely appearance allowed Blackleaf to get a web spell off on the armed reinforcements that attempted to save the life of their lord, immobilizing the entire squad (except the captain, who managed to slay Astix the hireling before himself being felled). The magic-user, too, was easily killed while he sat, paralyzed by the hold person spell, holding up a morsel of venison on his fork, mouth hanging open, ready but unable to bite--he was struck through with several arrows loosed by June and Able, if I recall correctly.

During the melee at the high table, it was revealed that Morrow was a werewolf when a stroke from a normal sword did him no damage, while a silver arrow pierced his shoulder and bright red blood flowed forth.

But in the end, the party agreed that they needed to seize Morrow and haul him away before any more reinforcements showed up. They bound him as well as they could with speed, and then dragged him back down and out through the dungeon and back to town.

Thaddeus caroused, telling everyone this tale, but was able to hold his liquor without shenanigans ensuing. And so Morrow was captured two weeks after his father before him; and within the next weeks, certainly, the men-at-arms that Sonora left behind in Brakeridge hope to be able to take the castle back for their lady!


Remembrance for the Fallen:
Astix (Celto hireling), Clara and Ilana (normal women), Marlo and a number of dogs, GramDorcasFrida, 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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