The Keep on Yeoldelands – Session 6

Click here for the other sessions.

This session was played in the middle of the UK’s heat wave last week and a number of us were suffering. Fortunately the emergent story was entertaining enough for some proper escapism and, despite taking its time to crank into gear, my computer was just about able to survive the duration.

Expeditions 7 and 8

22 July 2021

  • Calamatix (Elf 1)
  • Rarder Brete (Fighter 1)
  • Tarek Krel (Fighter 1)
  • Tom Penn (Fighter 1)

Still based in the town of Redwood, believing the castle they’d discovered a day’s march upriver to be a safer source of treasure, the party tried to seek an audience with the baron and be contracted to clear it out, but were advised to make a name for themselves first. Nobody was willing to ferry the party anywhere near that building, for ’twas a place where the dead walked. The adventurers hired a barge / raft and head upriver. Arriving at night, they note that there is light from a fire coming from a great hole in the wall of the main building.

NOT the Keep on Yeoldelands. A different one. With dodgy perspective.

Waiting until dawn, they camouflaged their boat and sneaked toward the tower, another hole in its side. A large number of little animal skeletons – foxes, hares, badgers and the like – poured out from the rubble and from two sets of stairs leading up and down, and swarmed around the party as they stepped inside. Calamatix drenched most of the creatures in holy water and, shrugging off some nips and bites, the adventurers finished off the rest.

Tom started ascending the tower, poking at the rotten, elderly floorboards. The others, still on the ground floor, noticed a few coins tumbling from the centre of the floor above. Looking for the source, Tom stepped into the room, and the entire floor collapsed. Below, Tarek and Rarder leapt aside while Calamatix stepped forward to try and catch his heavy, plate mail-wearing ally.When the dust settled, Calamatix and Tom lay with broken necks amid a pile of broken timber and 250 gold coins.

The surviving pair opted to gather the coins and, after some consideration, bodies and headed downriver back to Redwood. They found two wandering magic users, Crane and Doric, in the tavern, and took them on board to explore any possible arcane elements around the castle. Crane, as a self-confessed magic reading enthusiast, expressed a particular interest in Calamatix’s spellbook and spent two weeks copying across the dead elf’s Magic Missile into his own spellbook. Rarder grudgingly paid for both arcanists’ board and lodging for this duration.

The adventurers also hired a dwarf, Hats, to round out the numbers and add some muscle. He did indeed come with his own hat.

Their return journey to the castle, apart from having to scare off a pack of wolves, was largely identical to before. They decided search the rubble in the tower in case they’d missed any coins. Instead, Doric finds a pouch containing a ring with a wavy band. Placing it upon a finger had no obvious effect, so he pocketed it for later.

There was no easy way up the tower anymore, so instead the party descended to its basement. Hats, complaining about the generally shoddy, short-termist set up of the masonry, noticed an oddity in the wall. The party places a torch into a neighbouring sconce and pulled it down, and the wall swung away to reveal a passage.

Following it, the adventurers came to a room with several doors, a corridor and some objects covered by some ancient-looking sheets. Removing them revealed several old portraits – most had rotted away but a few still looked salvageable in their ornate frames. Looking to keep these finds safe, the party returned to Redwood and sought an audience with the baron.

Baron Grellus, his long noble nose matching those in the portraits, was delighted to return them to his family’s collection. Looking favourably upon the party, he paid them 450 gp and granted them board and lodging, with the promise of further reward should they help him reclaim the castle. His daughter Andrella, a woman of historical learning and arcana, identified Doric’s ring as one of Water Walking, which brought forth a flurry of excited whispers from the party.

They settled down for a hearty meal in the servants’ quarters and bedded down for the night, minds full of the unexplored wealth surely beyond those untouched doors.

GM Notes

  • More death! The way any good low-level adventurer would want to go – comically and surrounded by gold. The players and I had a chat after the session, and they didn’t seem unduly concerned about the mortality rate, acknowledging that theirs was often a bold approach to adventuring. Rarder will be levelling up for next session, but that is largely thanks to being the most prolific chronicler (players get 250 xp per expedition they do a short report / poem / illustration / [insert creative commemoration here] for, which goes some way to mitigate the slow level progression of OSE and encourages the occasional pure-scouting expedition too).
  • It feels like we’re getting into a good rhythm for sessions. There’s a little bit of planning before the actual exploring takes place, and we’re able to get a quick changeover going if we suddenly need to return to a safe haven to stock up again on characters.
  • I’ve sprinkled some stolen bits and pieces from other modules around Yeoldelands for such an occasion as this when the players wished to explore somewhere other than the caves. They’re a mixture of old modules and new, and really highlight the convenience of simple, independent fantasy sites and scenarios which can just be dropped into a campaign. I’ll go into more detail in a future blog post – one which I can warn players away from for fear of spoilers.

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