The Keep on Yeoldelands – Session 20

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Expedition 22a

11 Nov 2021

  • Alfredward (Dwarf 2)
  • Amos (Cleric 3)
  • Rarder Brete (Fighter 4) and Boots (Dwarf 1)

The reduced party settled upon an attempt to seize the watchtower promised to them by the baron so long as they could clear out its bandit infestation. Their plan was to use one of the potions they’d commandeered from Redwood Castle – a deadly poison, in fact – and present themselves as a vulnerable band of merchants with a poisoned barrel of wine sourced from the ever-producing silver goblet they’d recovered after the ‘charming incident’.

So they found themselves travelling along a known bandit-plagued route towards the Keep on Yeoldelands, the two dwarves and dwarven retainer Hats acting as the merchants while the rest of the party tailed them at a distance. And back again. And again. They then feigned a broken wheel in the hope that this would draw forth an attack. Several days into this ruse, the bait was finally taken, but instead it was the tailing group – Amos and Rarder, with the retainer Artzua and hunting dog Atila in tow – that found themselves surrounded by bandits.

Remarkably, Amos was able to convince the outlaws that the adventurers were themselves about to ambush the merchant wagon and that they should join forces. After some wink-interrupted hurled threats, the Boots and Hats ‘fled’ while Alfredward joined the others as an apparent inside man.

Adventurers and wagon all accompanied the bandit group back to a watchtower with one giving some background on their operation. Headed by Saydir, an experienced smuggler, the crooks would take entire merchant caravans – goods and personnel – and send off the material wealth with Saydir while they palmed off captives to the Caves of Chaos in exchange for a large number of the hairy folk Rarder had encountered several months ago.

Upon reaching the derelict watchtower and support buildings, the party were led up to meet the smuggler’s right hand man. The party continued to play up their ruse of prospective highwaymen but their fine array of armour and weaponry drew suspicion. Pre-empting a hostile conclusion, the adventurers drew their weapons and hacked down the right hand man and several bandits, and then having positioned themselves at the top of a narrow flight of stairs they dispatched a number of reinforcing bandits.

Then a dreadful stench filled the stairwell as two lumbering figures of fat and body odour burst through a immediately larger doorway and attempted to ascend the stairs, one punching through the stone wall while the other flailed at Alfredward. The dwarf was crushed several times by the obese creature but empowered by the prayers of Amos was able to hang on long enough for him, the cleric and Rarder to take the two figures down.

Recognising them as similar to his first near-death experience giver, Rarder marvelled at how far he had come in the intervening months. The group wiped their weapons clean and prepared to face whatever else the tower might throw at them.

GM Notes

  • We find ourselves 20 sessions and 6 months into the campaign. The death rate has slowed down considerably in these last few sessions now that there are more hit points and magic items to go around (though we still average more than one dead PC per session – 22 so far). Without Amos’ holy healing Alfredward would have still been brought to 0 HP, so the divine assistance of the Sacred Locks is also helping out. That and cunning positioning ensured that three PCs and two retainers took out eight bandits, a bandit leader and two ogres in short order. They’re now able to survive the sort of insane frontal assaults that saw such a heavy early casualty rate.
  • Another example of the wonders of the shenanigans which can come from an unanticipated reaction roll result. I was all gearing up for a session of scouting and then sneaking in, but the dice decreed that there should be an opportunity to walk right in through the front door!

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