The Keep on Yeoldelands – Session 7

Click here for the other sessions.

We have our first level 2 character – Rarder is one of the more cautious characters and has a decent AC, but nevertheless has had to make a fair few saves to avoid being killed outright. May his good fortune continue, and perhaps rub off on his less armoured allies.

Expeditions 9 & 10

29 July 2021

  • Crane (Magic User 1)
  • Doric Seldew (Magic User 1)
  • Rarder Brete (Fighter 2)
  • Tarek Krel (Fighter 1) joined part way through the session, in time for the second expedition

Having learned from the baron’s daughter that Redwood Castle had fallen to a demon-worshipping warlord centuries ago but since proved the roosting spot of a variety of monsters, the party retained the services of the dwarf Hats, and acquired those of the halfling Beaskoetxealde (nope, us neither). They purchased a small barge with the last expedition’s earnings and headed back upriver for the ruins.

They made a beeline for the tower’s secret passage into the lower level of the keep. Searching beyond whatever doors opened easily, they found a set of keys and a row of prison cells, including an immobile skeleton clutching the worn down stub of a spoon. There was a loose stone in the wall – removing it revealed an untarnished spoon and a note saying, ‘Hope Is Another Spoon’. Unsure what to make of it, the new spoon was placed in the hand of the former inmate and the party retreated to see about getting through some of the locked, reinforced doors.

Lacking any specialised equipment, the group created a makeshift crowbar with a staff and an old spear tip to try and prise away the ancient hinges of one door. Unfortunately, while quieter than bashing the door down, it took a long time to make any headway, and a cry from ‘Beasko’ alerted them to a number of clattering skeletal forms emerge from the darkness behind them. The halfing’s warning was her last act as she was cut down. Hats too was heavily wounded before the walking dead were destroyed, and the party retreated back to town to rest up and resupply.

On their return, now armed with a crowbar and accompanied by Tarek, the adventurers made short work of the door, kicking it down into the room. Out of the gloom emerged four ghoulish forms, including one particularly large, foul specimen reeking of death. The party were able to funnel them in the door way so they only had to face one at a time, but the beasts’ paralytic toxins in their claw-like nails and teeth took Tarek and later Doric out of action (the magic user at least surviving a potentially fatal wound) and only the remarkably consistent hardiness of Hats and Rarder, and unerring accuracy of Crane, saw the creatures fall before they could break through the ragged rank of adventurers.

Waiting for their paralysed companions to come recover, the party explored the room and found stairs leading up as well as a pile of coins and treasures including a shield in the shape of a large breastplate and a potion. Choosing not to head up the stairs on this occasion, the party once again retreated from the castle and headed back downriver towards safety. The baron’s daughter, Andrella, confirmed that the shield was magical, formerly part of a clay golem and could grant healing to the bearer in the face of fire. Crucially, it was not affiliated with the Redwood family and was judged to have perhaps belonged to an unsuccessful adventurer. The party stashed it for communal use and celebrated their very good fortune on that last expedition.

GM Notes

  • Another occasion where having a player join a session partway through has really benefitted from the expedition structure. These last few sessions we’ve been able to have character sallying forth on two expeditions each time, with a short real life break fitting in between adventures. Late entries have been able to leap straight in and quickly pick up what’s happened before, almost like bringing a player up to speed on what happened in a previous session.
  • One of the house rules we’re using for this campaign is that characters can use any weapon, regardless of class – whatever weapon they use, they roll their HD for damage. Thus a fighter with a knife causes d8 damage while a magic user armed with a massive axes still only does d4 damage – martial training is the primary indicator how effective one is in a fight. Thus players can tailor their character equipment to their preferred vision of their character, rather than having choosing either to take the optimum weapon or to deliberately hamper themselves. What type of weapon still matters, though – two-handed weapons roll twice and take the highest, some weapons are better impromptu door openers, others are handy for prodding suspicious flagstones and traps at a distance.
    It means we got delightful little vignettes of Doric, his staff now serving as a cobbled-together crowbar, grabbing an axe from a crushed skeleton but being utterly incapable of hitting anything while Crane, having never fired a crossbow in anger before, suddenly becoming a marksman and hitting five targets out of six.
Magic Users armed to the teeth

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