Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #4 - The Castle in the Moors

Our active players at the onset of our episode, returning from The Temple of Alasku:
Ashe - highly skilled elven ranger
Maloran Alberhold - human fighter, ladies man minus any charisma
Talis Makolin - a rakish bard
Echelon - a pigeon loving priest of an eastern god of the sea, escorted by his new unwanted henchman, and lovable village orphan, Timmy to corral a host of animals.
Velandro - a pious priest of Akana
Aiko - a young female thief

29th of Hexdec, Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
The party arrived back in Eding  with plenty of plunder.   Ashe and Maloran make a note to introduce Rolf Wolfsblood and Kane to the group, although Rolf simply rolls his eyes at the jovial screw-ups. Treasure is distributed and Echelon buys more pigeon eggs and livestock.

35th of Hexdec, Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
As the dinner crowd rolled into the Blue Wizard Inn, young Timmy dashes inside in search of the party, as well as the militia. Lizardmen were attacking the farms to the southwest of town.  The party jumped into action and headed out towards the farms, not even waiting for the assembling militia.

They had almost reached the nearest farm, and could see the silhouettes of the lizardmen against the fires, when thunderous hooves came up from behind.  It was Lord Athelstane, his right-hand woman, Lady Iris, Red Knight of Crosedes, Barrack, the commander of the militia, and all six of the Lord's guards on horseback.  He stopped to confirm the allegiance of the party and ordered them to march to the second farm.   Soon enough, Torm and his militia arrived, and they all would spend most of the night scouring the countryside.

36th of Hexdec, The Farms Outside of  the Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
By daybreak, the only lizardmen in the area were corpses.  Torm set-up a rotation for groups to continue to patrol this area, while a second group defended the village, and a third got some rest.

1st of SepDec, Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
After a few rotations, Torm reported to Lady Iris, and ordered everyone to stand down.  Maloran spoke with him and discovered that the raid was peculiar.  Very few peasants were killed, Only prepared or stored food was taken, along with a few young women that were kidnapped.  Lizardmen historically avoided conflict with humans.  So long as men or their livestock stayed out of their swamp, they had no quarrel.  Reviewing the old maps Ashe had obtained, a small, unnamed tower or keep was was located in that swamp, in the direction of the humanoids retreat.
I didn't think peasant women wore lingerie...
Maloran got Torm's okay to scout out the location (and get some retribution on the lizardmen if they were in the way).  He went back to the party, announced his plans for them, then proceeded to steal the peasant girl Talis was wooing right in front of him.

2nd of SepDec, Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
The following adventurers left in the morning:
Rolf
Kane
Maloran
Ashe
Talis Makolin
Echelon with Pathfinder, the charmed wolf and Carthon, the henchman
Velandro

Timmy was left in charge of the cow and a few chickens back in the village.  This allowed Echelon to see the effectiveness of the new sheep he had purchased!

3rd of SepDec, The Southern Moors
Just past the last of the farms, the party encountered a strange man.  He would not give a name, but he claimed he was a magical merchant that wanted to buy one of Echelon's sheep.  Although a hefty profit was made on the transaction, everyone wondered why this man was wandering the edge of the lizardmen's range, and how he would defend himself.  He reached into his pocket, pulled out a simple frog, and pressed its back.  The creature opened its mouth and tremendous flames belched out from it. Kane offered to buy the frog, but the man refused, and soon they parted company.

Near dusk, they encountered some ogres.  Upon defeating the the ogres, Aiko appeared, finally catching up to them.  Scouting out some odd noise, Kane and Ashe ran into a pair or sphinxes mating.  They were not fast enough to avoid the duo flailing about in their violent throes of passion, and were tossed considerably far from the site.  Kane advised they go in the opposite direction for a ways before setting up camp for the night.

4th of SepDec, The Southern Moors
Early in the morning, they discovered the location of the keep, due to catapult shot being launched at them!
The keep may have once been an imposing sight, but over the years it slowly sank into the swamp until now, only five or six feet of each tower stood above the water.  The front two towers each had a catapult in the center, and a small crew re-loading.  The two rear towers had a combined force of men and lizardmen, some descending into the swamp to meet the party.

While Carthon chased the frightened animals, the rest decided a full frontal assault was the wisest approach. Dodging spears and arrows, Rolf led the group through the foot deep water.  Upon reaching the tower, the barbarian jumped up, grabbed one of the defending artillierists by the shirt, pulling him halfway over the parapet, but allowing Rolf to swing himself up.   The enabling defender plummeted into the water with a few broken ribs and the wind knocked out of him,   The other members of his squad fared a far more vicious demise at the end of the Rolf's sword.

Kane took a far more imaginative angle with the second front tower, With Maloran and Velandro shielding him from the worst of the attack, the monk put his hands together and a torrent of water shot forth, nailing the spear-chucking defender in the face, knocking him off the tower.

Soon, the towers were secured and all outside defenders thwarted.

The interior was levels of the castle were still intact, if not water-logged.  The great doors and portcullis of the former front gate were barely containing the swamp water from flooding the entire structure.

The bulk of the castle's inhabitants had come out to meet the party, so much of there were a few skirmishes.  They were able to find and rescue most of the kidnapped peasants.   Unfortunately, in the time it took to secure the village and launch their expedition, a few found themselves in the gullets of the lizardmen and a few survivors appeared abused by the brigands.

They did uncover some considerable treasure, as well as correspondence to Randolph, the now assumed-dead leader of the castle from a certain "Dread Lord."   He ordered Randolph and his band of lizardmen and humans to kidnap Lord Athelstane and Lady Iris!

6th of SepDec, Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
The party returned to Eding, requesting an audience with Torm, Athelstane, and Iris.   They presented their evidence, although the letter was now barely legible from water damage.   Lord Athelstane thanked the party, rewarding them even further, and declaring that Lady Iris would not leave his side. Word was then sent to Hydincall of the mysterious "Dread Lord."

Perhaps the temple was also an outpost of this evil person?  Naahh.. Let's drink instead!

DM Notes: Fun fact while turning the party journal into episodes,  This episode was only a quick journal entry in the voice of Maloran, but it was surely easier to piece together than the non-existent entry for the Temple of Alasku.  The initial session (#1-2) was some of my close friends, while the temple was played up at school with the rabid college players.  Neither Rolf nor Kane's players made it up that Saturday, and one of them had the journal.  Hopefully I've pieced together everything adequately.  

This adventure was inspired directly by The Castle on the Moors from DMGR2: The Castle Guide.  I initially ran it back in 1993 and 1994 games, the only big differences were that (a) the lizardmen were Dragonmen from Grenadier Miniatures, and (b) both times the PCs compromised the main doors and barely survived the ensuing flood.  At least this campaign had that (and Rolf's heroic acrobatics) going for it.  

Kane's player began wanting a monk more akin to Mortal Kombat than a fighting one, and I was more than happy to meet him halfway.   Create Water at low level shouldn't be used as a missile weapon, but it wasn't creating an unfair advantage in my mind.

The party missed the first not-so-subtle clues about the Dread Lord in the Temple of Alasku.  They knew trouble was in the air and that they may need to defend their new home.

At least until Maloran or Talis got the wrong girl pregnant and it was time to bolt... again.

NEXT #5: The Bells of Chardastes

2 comments:

  1. This is why you never let Maloran write the journal; he leaves out details. One thing I was partial to this adventure was how Rolf (me) snuck away from the party and skulked around looting the keep, crept back out into the swamp & hid the loot sac in a stump, returned to the keep & popped the main doors open flooding the building.

    I still hear Talis, when surrounded by various brigands exclaiming "Have at them, Rolf! ROLF!?! Rolf???"

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