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Actual Play

Castle Xyntillan – Session #36 – Assault on Lake Tower Part II

The Company:

  • Hendrik (MU6)
  • Ezio (T3)
  • Jürg (F5)
  • Liv, Nathalie, Francesca (heavy foot)
  • “Randy” Florin (bowman)
  • “Griping” Göpf & Noel (porters)

Loot:

  • A bunch of soporific flowers
  • A poison dagger with a gemstone pommel
  • The Scepter of the Merovings
  • Bishop’s mitre +1
  • The Oils of Cleansing
  • Ring with inset gem
  • Fancy drinking horn
  • An eviction notice addressed to Aristide Malévol
  • A huge pile of gold
  • A Pegasus brooch
  • Several doses of poison
  • Potions of animal control, clairaudience, speed, levitation, extra-healing, and an oil of ESP
  • A spellbook
  • Two skulls with crystalline brains

Casualties: None!

Report:

The company decide to try their luck once more in the lake tower, hoping to this time finally make their way to wherever Serpentina may be hiding out.

Upon arrival, they spot the skeleton gardening crew again, weeding along the walls. They decide to rush them. One skeleton is blown to dust by Ezio’s discus and the remainder are smashed to bits by Jürg and the heavy foot soldiers. A lone skeleton manages to make its escape.

When they get to the grand entrance they see a pile of adventurers’ corpses. They do the usual trick of dragging them down to the river and dumping them in the water. With that out of the way, they enter the castle, and make their way to the throne room.

When they get to the throne room they find two headless manservants ambling about. They try to bluff their way past them, telling them to get lost. But the manservants appear doubtful. They are attacked and destroyed before they can do any harm.

They move on to the ballroom, and are relieved to find no phantom dance is taking place this time around. They pass through it and make their way to the hallway beyond, and up north to the overlook suite. Here they open the double doors to the bridge that crosses the lake to the tower. They take a moment to scan the waters to make sure the lake monster isn’t anywhere near. Then, they cross the bridge and enter the tower.

They immediately head up the stairs, and enter the drafty hallway. This time they know not to look behind them when they hear footsteps behind them. They go up the next stairs, and the Blade of Rel begins to tremble. Jürg barely avoids stepping on a suspicious-looking step. Across the way they see a cabinet suspended from the wall, ready to be dropped down the stairs towards them. Ezio moves up and inspects the step. He expertly disarms it by wedging several spikes between in. They leave the cabinet, just in case.

The next floor up there are two doors, and stairs going further up. Checking the north door, they hear the sounds of a legal proceeding. They decide not to mess with this one for now. The south door opens on a greenhouse filled with flowers. A heady smell hangs in the air. They quickly harvest a handful, and leave again.

They go up the next set of stairs. As they go, they suspect there might be a secret space behind it. At the top of the stairs they see only one door. They look for secret doors again, and find one to the south. It opens onto a room with wall tapestries depicting underwater forests. One carpet is torn down, revealing an empty niche. They tear down the remainder but find noting. From this room, a door leads west and another north-east. From behind the west door they hear music. They try the north door first.

They find themselves in what must be the room of a lady. A large comfortable bed, with odd colored lights dancing around it. A chamber screen with titillating decorations, and a huge ominously creaking wardrobe. They search the room. In the bed, between the pillows, they find a fancy dagger covered in a nasty-looking substance. They also recover the Scepter of the Merovings, soiled in a manner best left unsaid. Behind the screen is a boudoir littered with all manner of things, including an array of flasks and vials. Among these they recover the Oils of Cleansing!

Next up, they turn their attention to the creaking wardrobe, while Ezio messes with the strange colors floating around the bed. They open it, and find it is full of moth-eaten clothes, mostly gentlemen’s attire. Hendrik’s eye is caught by a bearskin coat. He pulls it out, and it comes to life to attack him. They manage to avoid surprise, and destroy it before it can do any harm. On the top shelf of the wardrobe they recover the bishop’s mitre +1.

Very pleased to have recovered all these lost items, they take the door to the north-west. This leads to a maid’s room, weirdly lit by stained glass windows. A nude woman lies on a couch covered by creased sheets, apparently asleep. A half-finished painting of her stands on an easel. The floor is covered by men’s clothing. A fireplace has two skulls on its mantle. They avoid the woman, and go straight for the skulls.

Meanwhile, Ezio clambers up the chimney to inspect the roof. He determines there must be an attic. He also looks across the lake for signs of the monster but does not see any.

As they approach the skulls the things telepathically warn them not to take them. Hendrik can’t resist the temptation, and takes them anyway. The skulls try to explode his head with their psychic powers, but fail. They are meekly stuffed in a sack.

Skulls. Memento mori and all that. (Philippe de Champaigne)

Next they return to the room with the wall hangings, and take the door west that had music coming from behind it. In this room there are more tapestries with the same underwater scenery. A pair of gloved severed hands play a harpsichord. One hand has a fancy-looking ring on a finger. They smash the hands and take the ring.

They spot a trapdoor in the ceiling. Ezio is boosted up there, and find himself in a messy attic space full of boxes and four chained and locked plain caskets. In the north-west corner, the floor appears to be weakened. Ezio pokes a hole in it, and through it sees a cell. Barred windows, chains hanging from the wall, a shaft in the floor, and four tiny gargoyles sitting in the corners.

All of the company make their way up to the attic. They empty the boxes, finding only trash. Ezio also tries to pick the lock on one of the caskets, fails, and they decide not to open them right now anyway. Instead, they tear open the floor, and drop down into the cell. The small gargoyles animate, and fly around excitedly. The company try to calm the things down but really rub them the wrong way, and are attacked. When the first gargoyle is easily destroyed, the remainder lose their appetite for violence and cower in a corner. The things are mercilessly pounded to dust.

They search the cell, and it turns out the ring in the north wall opens a secret door. It is a small space pulled with personal belongings, and a ledger on a stand. They search the pile and find all kinds of valuables. The book tells them these are items once owned by “visitors” of the castle and deposited here as “evidence”. They also find ancient entries referring to great relics, including the Grayl of Good and Bad Destiny (recovered by Médard Malévol). When they look for it, they also discover an entry referring to the Heart of Roland, recovered by Hubert.

They return to the cell, and peek down the shaft. They see another small space containing a huge chest. They climb down and see the chest is marked “property of Judges Guild, do not open”. The Blade of Rel trembles at the sight of it. It must be trapped. Ezio inspects it and determines it is not the lock, but probably the lid on the chest itself. He tries to pick it, fails, and Hendrik steps in to cast a knock spell. They then attach a rope to the lid’s clasp, climb back up the shaft, and pull the chest open. They hear a cracking sound, and the room below them fills with a gas. They wait for it to dissipate, climb back down, and see the chest is absolutely crammed with more gold than they can carry.

Or can they? Risking disaster in such a cramped space with no ready escape route, Jürg spreads out his portable hole. Lucky for them, nothing happens. They shove the chest into the hole, and decide it is time to leave. They head back the way they came. Along the way, Hendrik takes a moment to smoke his hookah, and loses a fireball spell to it. They exit the castle and make their way to Tours-en-Savoy without further trouble.

Referee Commentary:

A triumphant session for our players. They more or less cleared out the lake tower, and walked away with significant treasure, including several previously lost major items. They also lost zero company members.

A job well done, largely thanks to expert play, and a little luck of the dice. They were really smart about using the map to find secret rooms. The way they handled the trap on the chest was also very smart. The Blade of Rel’s power to detect traps turns out to be a major boon in this castle as well.

I also really enjoyed the encounter with the skulls. They were fun to roleplay, and the moment Hendrik’s player decided to go for it, knowing full well he was taking a big risk, was also quite tense. He does have a ridiculously good saving throw at this point, though.

Not much else to say, really. Next session is the last one of the season. Will they try and put their recovered items to use? Will we continue for another season in the new year? Who’s to say?

Edit (2022-04-07 07:38:45) this turned out to be the last session of season 3 after all.

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