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Actual Play

Castle Xyntillan – Session #30 – Another Round

The Company:

  • Hendrik (MU5)
  • Niemir (F3)
  • Penelope, Julia, Madlaina & Sanna (heavy foot)
  • Leon (porter)

Loot: cheap necklace and a box of golden buttons.

Casualties: Sanna, repeatedly stabbed by skeleton guardsmen. Leon, fled down the dark corridors of the castle dungeon, missing, presumed dead.

Report:

In the weeks leading up to the next expedition, Hendrik has his treacherous wife Ronja arrested for forging his will and planning his assassination. She is locked away in the town jail. Meanwhile, Jürg solves the problem of the deranged lumberjack Blérot by tricking him into drinking water from the castle’s magic fountain, which transforms the poor fool into a sizable sum of gold. Finally, they invest some funds into advertising for the company, and manage to recruit a colorful bunch of heavy footsoldiers.

***

Upon arriving at the castle, they decide to further explore the new section of the castle dungeon uncovered during a previous expedition. They enter through the rose garden and head straight for the spiral staircase leading down into the windy corridor. There they head north and east, and find themselves in a short hallway with two more doors.

They try the one furthest back leading south first, and see a room with three goat statues and a statue of a maiden made of salt pointing in their direction. This room they recall from previously recovered papers which tell of the demise of adventurers who messed with the statues in this room. They debate their approach at length. Finally, a plan is hatched, and a rope is tied around the neck of the goat statue closest to the door. They run the rope back under the door which they close, and pull. Sure enough they hear the statue topple, almost immediately followed by angry bleating of several goats, and the sound of nearing hoof steps.

The company quickly spike the door and then create some distance from it. They ready missiles and wait. The goatrices bash down the door after several attempt and rush into the hallway. Hendrik takes aim with his wand of lightning and zaps the creatures before they can do any harm. All three are instantly turned to ash.

The company head back into the room, and debate things some more. Ultimately. Niemir plucks up courage and licks the salt statue of the maiden. He instantly feels his sense of taste improve. Niemir is now able to detect ingested poisons, but he does not know it yet. They then chop of the hand of the statue to bring back with them to town, hoping it will be of some value, and leave the room.

Back in the hallway they try the door to the north. It opens onto a plain room with several beds and basic furnishings. More notably, the ghost of a maiden is seen float through a wall and disappear, giggling all the while. They search the room and find little of note, except for an animated hairbrush floating in front of a mirror. They do notice the cabinets on each side of the room have been moved frequently, and when they do the same, secret doors are unlocked. Each hides a small room. The one to the west contains a pile of bones, a cheap necklace and a box filled with golden buttons. The one to the east is entirely empty. They take the necklace and box, and leave.

Heading further north, the next door they try opens onto, to their surprise, a tavern. A ghostly rotund barkeep is cleaning glasses with a dirty rag and a dozen skeletons and a single headless manservant are living it up in the common room. Before the company can discretely leave, the undead clientele notice them, and angrily make for their arms. Nonplussed, the company head into the room and engage the skeletons. A massive brawl ensues. Poor Sanna is almost instantly stabbed to death. At the sight of this, Leon panics and flees. Hendrik casts Blight to help turn the tide. Niemir is tearing through skeletons like nobody’s business. Madlaina is also almost killed and retreats from the melee, barely avoiding being overcome by her trademark berserker rage. The remaining heavy footwomen hold their ground. More skeletons drop, their morale fails, and they decide they have had enough, and escape through the other door.

Skeletons deserve some after work drinks too (gkbgraphics)

The company lick their wounds, catch their breath, and chat with the barkeep. The drinks list offers quite the colorful selection, with prices ranging from the humble to the astronomical. Niemir ends up buying a Poltergeist Porter, but rather than consume it, he pours it into an empty flask for inspection back in town.

Next, they decide to have a quick look behind the doors across the room. The first they check holds a piles of broken furniture turned firewood. An animated chair is chained to a wall. A table is bleeding profusely from cuts made by an animated hatchet.

The next door they open reveals a storeroom where massive mice are eating from sacks of flour. They gingerly close the door again.

The final door has a sign that says “kitchen, keep out!” which they decide to heed. And with that, they bid the barkeep farewell, and head back up and out of the castle and back to town, without incident.

Referee Commentary:

A quick one. A low player count again, and a late start meant we did not cover a heck of a lot. But we had some memorable scenes regardless.

Players enjoyed running into a room they’d read about previously, and being able to act on that knowledge. I enjoyed it as well because I’d previously generated those hints entirely randomly, running with the suggestion given in the module about papers that describe how adventurers meet their end in the castle.

We ran the fight with the skeletons entirely theatre of the mind and it went pretty fast despite the large amount of characters. These days I default to having monsters target retainers before turning to player characters and that simplifies things as well.

Niemir’s player enjoyed being able to attack three skeletons every round thanks to his fighter class ability. It’s a little tweak that really makes the fighter feel like the best at, well, fighting, which is as it should be.

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