The Keep on Yeoldelands – Session 18

It’s been a few weeks of busyness, holiday, more busyness and ill health in the Doodler household (not that illness, thankfully), so we haven’t played a session for a few weeks, nor have I typed up this session. Rather than fall behind and / or risk forgetting some important details, here’s a briefer summary than normal of the key events.

Click here for the other sessions.

Expedition 21a

14 Oct 2021

  • Alfredward (Dwarf 2)
  • Amos (Cleric 3)
  • Dalgarn (Dwarf 2) & Percival (Halfling 1)
  • Rarder Brete (Fighter 4) & Boots (Dwarf 1)

Tired of crawling around underground in fear of the threatening occupants above, the party planned an assault on Redwood Castle (aka Bone Keep). They had great ambitions of amassing a grand army to lay siege to the keep, but unfortunately there seemed to be a shortage of willing participants. They waited a few weeks for Amos to enchant a shield to protect the group from another magical fireball, and for Rarder and Percival to scout the keep out (gauging there to be some 20-odd feline-headed folk about), but could still just hit double figures with their recruiting.

Both Hats and Artzua decided to sit this venture out and spend their retainer fees in town for a bit, so the party hired Abarran, a slightly crazed Chaos-hating zealot, to lead the mercenaries in causing a distraction while the adventurers snuck in through the underground tunnels, making a beeline for the sorcerer on the top floor.

The baron seemed to approve of their plan enough to provide them with enough boats to transport everyone upriver. They arranged with Abarran to assault the keep the next day once the party had managed to slip beneath. Both of their approaches were aided by the heavens opening and bucketing down enough rain to significantly reduce visibility.

The adventuring party crept down to the chilly caves they’d cleared out over the last few expeditions and travelled round until they came to a set of stairs they’d yet to ascend. Up they went, hurrying through rooms and deliberately avoiding anything that distract them from their objective. Eventually they found themselves back in the room where they’d found the baron’s family portraits, so they followed their way round to the site of the fight against the ghoulish monstrosities. They ascended the second set of stairs back up to ground level and bashed down a door at the top – it had been boarded up – but the sound they made seemed to have been hidden by the rain and noise of their mercenaries’ distraction starting up.

Beyond the felled door was yet another set of stairs, so the adventurers continued their ascension plan and found a corridor full of doors. One looked fancier and turned out to be magically locked. A neighbouring bedroom hid an alternative route in behind an old ruined painting, and lo and behold there was a ladder and leading up to the keep’s top floor.

The sorcerer was waiting for them with two cat-like allies. The characters weathered his first magical missile, but then he sent most of them into an enchanted slumber, leaving only the experienced Rarder standing. He frantically went about slapping his allies awake, weathering the felines’ blows, and the party rallied to slay the trio who resolutely faced their rapid last stand.

The sounds of the distraction were a lot nearer now, and the party quickly descended back into the room below to find a cheerfully bloody Abarran and several mercenaries charging towards them. Apparently the sacrificial lambs had done a lot better than expected and managed to fight their way into the keep itself. But there were still plenty of castle occupants to be dealt with…

GM Notes

  • Rather than work out a complicated system for determining how well the small band of mercenaries would do in assaulting the castle and causing a distraction, I just had the siege begin the first time I would have rolled up an encounter. I was then going to have the distraction end with all the besiegers dead or fled on the next roll of an encounter, but that never came. So clearly it went better than expected!
  • I had completely missed the secret door into to the room leading up to the topmost floor. Thank heavens for a genre-savvy player explicitly asking if there was a portrait or something which might hide a door! The group were coming up with possible alternatives for getting up there, but this was a much safer way.

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