The Keep on Yeoldelands – Session 46

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Expedition 41

15 Sep 2022

  • Alfredward (Dwarf 4)
  • Knuckles (Thief 1)
  • Rarder Brete (Fighter 5)

Liaising with their ratfolk contacts in their newly established lair, the party got themselves a guide to the suspected lair of the King Under The Mountain – a derelict monastery formerly dedicated to Ferona, Iron Goddess. Wary of setting foot in the monastery grounds, the adventurers continued ascending the mountain to get a good vantage point from above. There they staked out the place for a couple of days, noting the comings and goings of the inhabitants.

First returned a pair of the great obese monsters of the kind they’d crossed paths with several times before, each carrying a wriggling sack under their arms. Then a gaggle of hairy ones emerged from a long-abandoned patch of allotments, paying little heed to their damp, matted hair of the plughole variety catching in the brambles – they departed in one direction and returned several hours later from another.

At this point Knuckles approached the complex and scouted the walls, finding a crumbling hole which might fit an unarmoured adventurer in the future. He also scrambled up the wall to examine a courtyard the party had spied from a distance – here he found a remarkably pristine garden complete with tranquil fountain and shallow pool.

The party decided to get a bit more intel from a current inhabitant, so they set up an ambush on the route the hairy ones had taken. Before long a unit of hairier-but-more-kempt ones rounded the bend, better armed and armoured, and marching in unison. Regardless of the better presentation, the adventurers barrelled into their flank in a flurry of flashing blades and whizzing arrows.

In no time at all the trio of adventurers and their five retainers had whittled the patrol down from double figures to a lone survivor, who they quickly bound and dragged down the mountain. Interrogating their fugitive back at their fort, they had to endure constant boasting of an army of hundreds beneath the mountain readying themselves to descend upon Yeoldelands in a wave of destructive raiding. And of course the King Under The Mountain was on excellent terms with the local dragon. Stands to reason; he’s such an impressive figure, after all. United a military force of chaotic creatures big and small, don’t you know.

Pondering this info, the party considered their options for convenient responses. The baron seemed receptive to their report, but if they wished to use Redwood Keep as a base of operations at the foot of the mountains, they’d need to see about placating his daughter who now resided there.

GM Notes

I find myself cracking open another old module: B5 Horror on the Hill. I’ve had this adventure location to hand since the first week of the campaign when I scrawled a rough hex map in anticipation of players wandering further afield. The dungeon comes accompanied with quite a few additional sites, some of which I’ve scattered around the campaign area, but this is the first time in 15-odd months of real-life playing and six months of in-game adventuring that the party has approached any of the content.

Thus there’s been good opportunity to jot down notes and adjust the adventure in a manner that reflects the shifting game world. The exact nature of those changes will have to wait for now, not wishing to spoil anything for the players, but having re-read the module to refresh my memory I’m looking forward to seeing how things pan out. It’s more thematically coherent than Keep on the Borderlands, and similarly treacherous for low-level characters. The PCs are handily bolstered by the presence of several characters spanning the range of levels up to five but, as the players are at pains to point out, the adventuring group sizes aren’t as big as seemed regular back when the module was first written, and we’ve only just narrowly avoided losing the entire group to a charming trio of harpies. But for a single successful save from Koko, we could have lost the lot.

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