2017/09/10

OSR: Tomb of the Serpent Kings, Session 8&9

Continued from here. In which the party invests money, avoids danger, and considers their future.

A nameless human Paladin of the Voice. Very faithful, very dumb. Loves all living creatures that aren't trying to kill him.
Franklin, the Iron Frog. A frogling knight and master of the feudal hierarchy. Ambitious, tending to unscrupulous.
Antonia Barracuda, a fishling thief and a wizard of dubious training.
Fergus the goatling. A biomancer disguised as an orthodox wizard.
Annie, an antling Wizard of the White Hand. Believes she's found a new colony.

And their hirelings:
Squire - Tshamus

Soldiers:
Sgt-at-arms: Germund
Soldiers: Joel, Nikola, Jacques, Jean*, Other Jean, Lupin
Archers: Bastian, Frederich
*died during this session
Non-Combatants:
Minstrel - Albraich
Sharpener - Gembin
Guy Who Goes "Heh" - Unknown
Urchin - Unknown

Carpenters:
Tall Dave
Medium Dave
Round Dave
Little Dave


With Franklin still away "paying taxes" to the Baron of Bayle (or more accurately, the baron's son and heir Edmund), the rest of the party rose at dawn and decided to continue exploring the tomb. They decided to travel west into the lower, unexplored areas near the chasm, bringing 4 soldiers with them.

After climbing over the remains of the scything death trap (and the bloodstains left by now-deceased party members), the PCs reached a small chamber. To the west, a sloping hallway lead up and towards the chasm. To the south, a doorway blocked entirely by bits of furniture, cutlery, old chandeliers, metal scraps, and plates.

"Goblin work...goblinship," Antonia declared. The party began clearing the debris, but despite their best efforts the collapsing pile made a lot of noise. Within a few minutes, the distinct sound of chattering goblins could be discerned down the west passage.

The Paladin bravely sprung into action and blocked part of the hallway with his shield. The goblins, visible only as red eyes in the dark, threw a huge pot of smoldering guano at him. It didn't explode or anything, but it did coat the Paladin in layer of flesh-eating beetles, and the smoke made ranged combat more difficult. A furious but completely ineffective battle began. Arrows and turnips flew. The Paladin ran to the surface to wash, while the rest of the party hastily created a barricade. The goblins retreated after twenty minutes.

"That was... fun," Fergus said cautiously. "Now what's inside this room?"

The party very cautiously approached the dark and narrow chamber. The Paladin, freshly rinsed and slightly winded from his run, peered around the corner and was startled to discover a young human woman with a chain around her ankle.

"Oh thank the Authority!" she said. "I've been rescued!"

The prisoner said her name was Petunia. She had been kidnapped by the goblins while gathering herbs in the forest. They hadn't made her their king - a suspicious omission - but had instead chained her up in this room. She looked emaciated, tired, and pale, but was extremely happy to be rescued.

The party was suspicious, but after some debate and further questions agreed to free Petunia. Annie didn't notice that her dagger cut only illusions instead of a solid metal chain. Because of the great wealth the party had buried on the surface and their continued suspicion, they insisted the terrified herbalist accompany them.

The Paladin, through sign language, discovered that Petunia believed "very strongly" in the Authority and was, in her words, "on very good terms and in perfect spiritual health." Please to finally meet a proper believer, the Paladin became her protector and guide. Her prison also contained a magic dagger (pocketed by Annie), a few gold bowls, and a mysterious stone snake. Antonia had a theory about the snake, and the entire party followed her through the Basilisk Hall as she tested it.

The snake did indeed unlock the massive carved door at the end of the hall, revealing a glittering throne room. Though the ancient tapestries had crumbled to dust, the room still contained 8 valuable palm-sized mirrors and a massive golden throne. The throne was deemed interesting but not portable; the mirrors were stored in Annie's wheelbarrow. The group also discovered a secret passage. Exploring it lead to Xiximanter's lair. The shocked lich demanded an explanation. Antonia spluttered something about being lost, pointed out that the party was full of very stupid bipeds, apologized, and fled. Xiximanter seemed to believe them... for now.

After exploring a few more rooms, dodging animated manacles and improvised goblin traps, the party decided to split up to try and corner some goblins. Antonia, Annie, the Paladin, their new friend Petunia, and 3 of the soldiers would circle to the east of the sacrifice pit, while Fergus and 1 soldier would circle to the west. This plan - proposed by Fergus - met with some skepticism, but the party accepted it.

GM's note: I'm not sure if Fergus' plan was to ingratiate himself with the one soldier left behind (Jacques), or if he was planning on sacrificing the soldier on the giant gold scales discovered in the previous session. It didn't matter in the end.

Isolated and cautious, Fergus and his bodyguard crept forward. They very nearly blundered into a goblin-troll-toad-thing. The hideous, misshapen creature, the result of a botched spell interacting with troll blood and a toadling wizard's leg, roared and lurched towards them.

"Fear not, sir!" Jacques shouted, brandishing his spear. "Together we can defeat this... sir?"

But Fergus was already gone. He ran like a mad thing, his hooves skittering on the flagstones, until he slipped and toppled into a spiked pit trap. He landed between two rows of spikes, miraculously unharmed, but quite unnerved by the screams and sounds of rending flesh from above. Jacques had fought bravely... but briefly.

The terrified wizard now faced a new threat. The pit contained a skeleton jelly, shoved there by the party days earlier and left to languish. It oozed towards him hungrily. Luckily, Fergus knew the Alter Self spell and changed his form - via a truly disgusting inside-out folding process, to resemble a skeleton jelly. Confused by the change in smell and appearance, the other jelly gave up, as did the troll when it eventually lumbered over to look for more people to eat. Fergus, jellified, climbed to safety and oozed his way towards the rest of the party.

Several rooms over, the party had looped around and discovered the squashed remains of Jacques. They very nearly attacked the skeleton jelly who wandered towards them, burbling in terror, but Fergus reversed the spell just in time and regained his true form. Antonia was unsure - was he a goatling pretending to be a skeleton jelly, or a skeleton jelly pretending to be a goatling?

In any case, the party retreated slightly and began debating their next move (and soothing the 3 remaining soldiers with extra pay). Petunia drew the Paladin away from the party with nervous enthusiasm and, after a bit of shy hesitation, kissed him on the lips.

The party's torches flickered. Strange blue light sprayed across walls. The Paladin, shocked and terrified, flailed as Petunia changed form and grew. Leathery wings burst from her back. Her modest outfit reformed into leather (with extra spikes) and her skin became pale blue. With a cry of "See you in hell!", she clapped her hands together and vanished with a blast of thunder.

Everyone rushed over to check on the Paladin. He was alive, but seemed to be in a state of total shock. His limbs shook and his eyes rolled wildly. Antonia noticed that his hair had become slightly grey and his gut had expanded slightly.

"What was that?" Fergus asked, poking the Paladin's foot cautiously.

"No idea. But hanging out with strange people you meet in dungeons is a bad idea," Antonia replied. The party retreated to the surface to wait for Franklin's arrival and, hopefully, his good advice.


Chateau de Guedelon

When he arrived the next morning, Franklin encouraged the party to visit the City of Elderstone and deposit their ill-gotten wealth in the First Dragon Bank of Elderstone. The party, not willing to risk another delve, agreed. They set off in a small convoy that night, traveling by cover of darkness. It was a risk, but they expected fewer travelers on the road. Antonia also readied an illusion spell to disguise their chests full of gold as mundane firewood.

The party's journey was uneventful, save that Antonia's dog was eaten by a murder log (giant camouflaged crocodile) and the party passed by a mysterious stag-hawk-thing in a tree. They reached the city of Elderstone by dawn.

While the Paladin and Fergus accidentally created a traveling talking horse show using the Paladin's ventroloquism ability, Annie wandered around spending her vast wealth (of 10gp), and Antonia and Franklin deposited their chests full of gold at the bank. The original arrangement had been to split the gold three ways (as Antonia, Franklin, and the Paladin were the only survivors of the original group), but the fishling and the knight had other plans. They split the loot neatly in half, depositing over a 1,500gp into their accounts, and leaving the Paladin with 100gp in his.

"After all," Antonia reasoned, "he doesn't really know what money is for, and he's going to give it all to the Church anyway, likely as not. It's not cheating. We are just..."

"Keeping his money safe for him," Franklin finished. After giving the Paladin his deposit card and letters of credit, the party regrouped and began a grand outfitting and mercantile adventure. They purchased supplies, carts, and tools. They hired a cook and sought out a butler. Antonia, ever mindful of the future, bought a small inn named the "Crooked Stool" using 500gp from her ill-gotten wealth. The adventuring life was appealing, but Antonia knew that it couldn't last forever. The inn would provide a stable source of income if she was injured... or if the rest of the party had a tragic accident.

And that is where we leave the party for now. They are busy preparing for a month of fort-building, tomb-quarrying, and possibly fighting Xiximanter the Lich. One thing is certain; the party is not yet done with the Tomb of the Serpent Kings.

1 comment:

  1. Buying the inn is a good idea. The hospitality industry is a notoriously fickle mistress, but at least her slings and arrows don't literally kill you, nor do her kisses literally send you to hell.

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