The Keep on Yeoldelands – Session 10

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Expedition 13

19 Aug 2021

  • Crane (Magic User 1)
  • Rarder Brete (Fighter 3)
  • Shay Longladdle (Magic User 1)
  • Yello (Thief 1)

Resting a few days while their retainers recovered their health, and now awash with cash, the party started seeing about spending their wealth – Rarder acquired a strongbox which he housed in the baron’s servants quarters, and Crane procured a flashy hand crossbow for himself and an even fancier hat for Hats. They then promptly instated cut backs, having hiring the amiable cleric Artzua to join them, by giving Martixa the book.

The heavens had opened with the rain severely hampering visibility, but the adventurers made the journey upriver to Redwood Castle anyway and descended down the trapdoor next to the ruined walls. A quick glance showed that open doors had been closed and hammered spikes had been torn out. They proceeded to re-open / re-spike their progress, pausing only to casually dispatch two span-wide spiders and block the little crawl-hole they suspected to hide a nest with the remains of the formely-animate statue.

Unfortunately, the portcullis had also been ‘de-spiked’, and it took the company a good 40 minutes of heaving to lift them up again. In the process, they were once again rattled by the sound of moaning then maniacal laughter and rattling chains coming from ahead.

’tis a glamorous life, adventurin’

Eventually the party got through and spiked the winch again. They explored the corridor the gelatinous blob had emerged from but it led to a dead end with an ancient corpse curled up in a little alcove. Backtracking and tying ropes to the handles, the adventurers heaved open the great brass double doors.

They were met with the sight of a glowing book on a pedestal with two orbs revolving around it. Warily, the party greeted the floating balls and, as it appeared no attack was immediately forthcoming, enquired about the book. It was a Tome of Forbidden Knowledge left there centuries ago by the great Elf lord Eugotr, and no one else was to read it, touch it or otherwise make use of it. The guardians offered some other treasures that weren’t in their remit and had been left by some previous prospective Tome of Forbidden Knowledge owners.

While Crane continued to pry about the book, and subsequently learning of various failed attempts by a fur-cloaked barbarian who even in death kept trying to take it, the rest of the party raided the pile of treasure, finding a lot of coins, two scrolls and an exquisitely-forged sword. Rarder opted to pack it away without drawing it.

Leaving the spherical guardians be (for the moment…) the party backed out and explored another corridor leading off from the winch room, necessarily making a lot of noise when faced with a stubborn door. The passage led on for a while, and Artzua started looking distinctly queasy. By the time they came across a pile of four ancient desiccated bodies, she was almost bent double. Fruitlessly searching and then clearing aside the shrivelled remains, the party continued on and the cleric started perking up again.

Another door blocked their path, and it took much effort and cursing from Hats to chip away around the locking mechanism. The door opened and the dwarf a violet bolt of arcane energy to the chest, followed by several ranks of walking skeletons and corpses. The party fled, flinging a vial of holy water behind them to slow their pursuers. Back up the rope they went into the elements.

They were greeted at the top with a volley of arrows from several hairless, feline-headed assailants. There was no stomach for a fight so Shay distracted some of their attackers by ventriloquising a flanking manoeuvre , and the adventurers fled back to the moored riverboat, Crane in his ill-fitting armour providing some cover for the others. Fortunately, the heavy rainfall obscured the archers’ sight and the party were able to escape.

Crane was able to determine that their two uncovered scrolls would cast Commune and Cure Serious Wounds. Rarder took the sword to Andrella and attempted to show good faith by overpaying. The blade was named Conciencia and had been finely crafted with the ability to detect the presence of magic and deal extra damage to the ‘wielders of unnatural magicks’. Drawing her from her sheath, Rarder felt another conscious presence in his mind. Would she prove to be friend or foe to the party?

GM Notes

  • This is the first time I’ve seen a character take possession of a sentient sword, and the same for Rarder’s player. We both had to later remind ourselves of the OSE rules, so I anticipate a bit more muddling through with this extra little minigame. I’d adapted the weapon a bit from the original module as part of the modifications to it I made to fit into the Yeoldelands world, so it doesn’t fully follow the templates set out in OSE, but hopefully will prove to add an interesting element to gameplay.
  • I think the ambush by the trapdoor was the first time our house rules for any class being able to use any weapon and any armour came into effect, with Magic User Crane shielding the lesser armoured party members. I quite liked the added decision-making – Crane has to spend a while removing his armour to cast spells, so they’re essentially unavailable if the party don’t have time to prepare for a fight. It’s quite a deviation from RAW D&D, but gives the characters a bit more survivability while not rendering them invulnerable – the combination of armour taking up a lot of inventory slots, characters’ hit dice being the basis for damage dealt and the loss of class abilities mean it’s not a no-brainer to turn your metal-clad magic users and thieves won’t be displacing fighters any time soon.

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