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Actual Play

Castle Xyntillan – Session #35 – Assault on Lake Tower

The Company:

  • Hendrik (MU6)
  • Jürg (F5)
  • Ezio (T2)
  • Agnes (F1)
  • Robert (C1)
  • Francesco & Nathalie (heavy foot)
  • Liv (light foot)
  • Florin (bowman)
  • Ronja & Noel (porters)

Loot:

  • Crusader’s cloak +1
  • 510 GP from Patrice’s corpse
  • Gemstone eyes from saint’s heads
  • Blackened table silver
  • Large gemstone from a skeleton’s gullet
  • Horned helmet and flail from the same skeleton

Casualties: Agnes, fried by a razzle-dazzle lightning bolt. Ronja, shredded by animated porcelain.

Report:

While recovering from the previous expedition, several mushrooms from the forest pocket dimension are sampled. Hendrik, already feared by many in town, goes “screw it” and consumes one that turns him blue and rubbery and tougher to wound. Poor Agnes is handed a portion from Jürg with the promise it will make her stronger somehow, but instead she just turns red with white polka dots all over.

***

Having assembled a formidable expeditionary force, and knowing where they might find the relics they once lost to the near-TPK at the hands of the ghouls in the castle dungeon, the company decide to head to the lake tower to try and find this Serpentina who this one ghost told them has taken up lodgings in.

They enter through the grand entrance, head up to the throne room without trouble, and when they open the doors to it, they see a pair of hand swarms crawling around seemingly oblivious to their presence. The company do not hesitate and attack right away. The fight turns a bit rough, with Jürg being strangled for some time, but they ultimately defeat te swarms without much trouble. It does, however, deplete some of their resources. A few spells, and the odd healing potion to patch up Jürg.

They continue to the ballroom, but find another phantom dance in progress. Weary about losing any more to the ballroom’s curse, they take the time to seal their ears with wax. They carefully skirt the dance floor while they make their way to the sitting room. They reach safety, but do see the ghost of poor Niemir dance with a look of desperation on his face.

From the sitting room they go on to the empty room adjacent, and there try the door leading to the hallway that runs north to the bridge to the lake tower. When they open the door they are face to face with three razzle-dazzles. Jürg almost gets tripple-zapped, but manages to slam the door shut just in time. The company prepare themselves, fling open the door again, and engage the weird things in melee. Jürg and Agnes fight on the front line. The fierce but inexperienced Agnes is sadly no match for the creatures and soon drops to the castle floor still fuming from a lightning attack. Once again, however, they manage to defeat the things without too much issue.

The company is joined by a young cleric named Robert. They head up to the overlook suite, and open the double doors to the bridge across the lake. They carefully make their way across. Upon reaching the other end they can’t resist once again messing with the winch. It pulls up an empty cage, however. They continue on to the tower.

Having previously explored the main hall, they try the door to the north. It is a room filled with tattered cloaks hanging from hooks. Two specimens appear well-preserved. One turns out to be a dead cloak-like monster like the one they once fought in the vestibule. The other cloak is white with a Red Cross on one side and a red sword on the other. It is obviously a lawful relic of some sort. They take both cloaks with them.

Heading back, they hear someone milling about the hall. This turns out to be the grizzled and paranoid veteran they previously encountered, named Patrice. This time around, he does not have a small army of berserkers with him, though. Hendrik tries to cast charm from a scroll but fails. Robert and Jürg then simply attempt to bullshit him about some treasure which can supposedly be found near the grand entrance and succeed. When Patrice makes to leave, they immediately cut him down, and loot his body, finding little of worth besides a sack of gold.

Next they try the door to the south, which opens onto an empty storage space. A thorough search does not yield any secrets whatsoever.

They head up the stairs. At its head, they find themselves in a draft passage, lined with saint’s heads. As they walk down it, each of them hears a person walking right behind them. Only Hendrik and his two heavy foots do not resist the urge to turn around. They immediately each find themselves eye to eye with a black-clad assassin, who proceeds to choke them. Everyone fights back, of course, and Hendrik even manages to draw his wand of lightning and zap his assailant. The masked murderers are eventually cut down.

The company search the passage and find some of the saint’s heads have gemstone eyes. Those are of course removed, but not before receiving Robert’s blessing. They see stairs leading further up, and pair of doors leading west. They decide to try these first.

They find themselves in a dining room. The severed head of a cook sits on a table, with a bell next to it. The table is set with blackened silverware. A chained cabinet is over in one corner. A strong smell of spices permeates the room. Jürg immediately begins to shovel silverware into a sack. A mummy, the source of the smell, bursts into the room from the west door. Several of the members of the company are paralyzed in terror. The rest attempt to fight it but only magical weapons harm it. Hendrik regains his courage, and tells everyone to back away from the mummy. He flings a fireball at it, and the thing lights up like a torch. Not yet destroyed, it pursues Jürg, but stumbles and falls. The company make short work of it as it tries to get back up.

Mummies, always in a bad mood when woken up (Dave A. Trampier)

They loot the room, and are intrigued by the cabinet. The Blade of Rel trembles at the sight of it. Ezio is asked to disarm whatever trap it might contain, but the thief quickly ascertains it is not mechanical in nature. The next plan is to drill a peep hole to see what is inside. But Jürg loses his patience and simply cleaves open the cabinet with his zweihander. The thing bursts open, and spews porcelain shards all through the room. Most only suffer cuts and bruises, but poor Ronja is not so lucky and expires from her wounds.

They check the door to the west, but it leads to another hallway with more doors. In stead they try the door north, and discover a large kitchen. A massive pot is bubbling away on a stove, an animated spoon stirring away. Various supplies are stacked in the room’s corners. The Blade of Rel trembles again… Jürg pulls out his hammer and sickle and steps into the room spouting gibberish about the means of production in attempt to banish the spoon. He succeeds, and the spoon jumps through a window and into the lake several floors below with a loud splash.

They search the room and fill a flask with bouillon. Ezio is nearly infested with rot grubs when checking on the wheels of cheese. They find a skeleton with a horned helmet and a flail. It is smashed open, and out rolls a massive gem. They take all of it, and decide it is about time to head back. They make their way out of the castle without further issue.

Referee Commentary:

The largest number of players in quite a while. Refereeing for such a large group online is quite the workshop. But this was a very satisfying and fun session. Don’t believe I have any real refereeing regrets this time around, which is good to make note of.

There were lots of random encounters, which slowed the players down on their way to the tower and depleted their resources a little. They also had no luck with doors. Many were stuck, and many open door checks were failed, which I rule means they need to make a lot of ruckus to get it unstuck, and as a result trigger another encounter check.

Agnes’s player can get no luck lately. They lost another level 1 PC. Agnes’s stats were very bad though, so they weren’t too sad about it. Robert, their cleric, has already reached level 2.

I handled the mummy’s terror by requiring a morale check from retainers and a save from PCs before they could act in an offensive manner.

One thing I might do differently going forward is when resolving attacks of the same kind aimed at the same target, only confirm the kill after all rolls have been made. That makes it a little more satisfying for all the players involved, and emphasizes the supposedly simultaneous nature of action.

Another session coming up soon. We are already nearing the end of another season. Will they return to the tower? Will they find Serpentina and confront her? Only one way to find out.

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