Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Dubzaron Session 73: Queens Rest Mountain (running with a Patron's session idea)

This session was played on 09/22/22 using 2 days of travel, 1 day for adventure and 1 day of rest. PCs are able to take actions 09/26/22.

Participating PCs: Billy (Level 5 Explorer), Gront Coldsky (Level 3 Barbarian), Garland Briggs (Level 1 Explorer), Autumn Leaves (Level 1 Elven Spellsword), Xanthos (Level 6 Cleric)

Henchmen: Xanthos brought Circeus the level 1 Mage and Lysander the Level 1 Fighter and Strider the Level 1 Explorer who inexplicably has a Horn of Blasting

Session Report

Consider Queens Rest Mountain for your
next anniversary or event
The PCs, during downtime primarily, traveled out into the Sepia Uplands; the domain of Kyle O'Conner, a high level barbarian patron who was greatly involved in Operation Muscle Thunder. Kyle had been in talks with PCs for a while about them delving a dungeon near (in?) his domain and they finally took it on. 

Kyle recently built a supply tower at the edge of his lands that is within a short distance of Queens Rest Mountain: a dormant (???) volcano with a Zaharan temple inside of it. For unclear reasons having something to do with prophesy or a curse, Kyle is unable to enter the temple or allow any of his clansmen to do so. Enter PCs!

The Forward Operating Base near Queens Rest Mountain was deemed FOB Queen and it's a safe place for PCs to rest or park after an adventure. So to those uncreative sorts that talk about "how can my pcs adventurer deep into the wilderness with 1:1 time? It's impossible!" I say to you that the players involved (including Patrons) will work within the limitations of the rules and come up with creative solutions. 

FOB Queen was Kyle's solution to having a dungeon he wanted PCs to delve which was far out from civilization.

Kyle's quest was for PCs to map the ancient temple inside the volcano at like 250 gp reward per room I think. Their grander quest was to find a sleeping beauty somewhere in the place named Alicia who is somehow tied into Kyle's fate and even the Fate of Stormbringer cosmic event you can watch here on my friend's fantastic yooturb channel.

FOB Queen was quite well defended with many troops, perhaps with the assumption something bad might come out of the mountain for revenge? Who knows. Kyle's main explorer henchman Jeremiah Johnson led the PCs out to the volcano accompanied by about a company of troops. He then scaled the mountain with then and a platoon of archers, bringing them to the top where they could look down into the volcano. Geysers of hot mist filled the landscape as they ascended the mountain. At this point I was simply reading word for word the stuff Kyle wrote about what he imagined the place might look like. This was very much a situation where a Patron had written me something like a module to run and the players commented on how cool the descriptions were.

Stairs led down around the rim and stopped like a hundred feet down at a cyclopean balcony of large granite stone. Built into the oppose inside wall of the volcano from the stairs landing was the front of a fancy Zaharan (evil) temple thing. Under the balcony was bubbling lava which filled the whole cavern with an eerie orange glow. 

This whole place had an awesome feel. Thanks Kyle!

Explorers tracked the stone balcony/bridges and were able to grok that about 20 lizard men and some very large lizard creatures went to the western entrance of the place. there was also a center entrance and another darkened cave on the eastern part of the temple wall which they didn't investigate. 

Each major entrance they saw had 20' wide freestanding stairs going up to 20' wide double doors. The party decided to investigate the one where lizardman traffic was indicated. The free standing stairs at the eastern entrance had statues of Lammalla on either side with garnet eyes. Strider pulled one of the statues down with his grappling hook and Autumn Leaves noticed 2 more garnets in the rubble of the other statue. 

From below the PCs could see the top of the stairs, at the open doorway leading into the temple, were fortified with wooden barricades with spikes. PCs started scheming how to destroy the barricades from afar when Gront agreed to try and sneak up and take a look into the room first. He saw 7 lizardmen guarding the barricade and doing a piss poor job of overlooking the volcanic cavern outside (they didn't hear the statue fall 20' away!) They also failed to notice Gront (he won surprise with barbarian skillz). 

In the room beyond he saw a bunch of treasures like furs and such and about 12 more lizardmen. Gront backed up to the party at the bottom of the long stairs to report what he saw at the top. Billy decided to quaff an invisibility potion and sneak up to use his ooze launcher to strike pandemonium into the lizardmen guards. The ooze killed a couple lizardmen and madness ensued as the lizardmen came together to try to kill that ooze and the one Billy launched when he won initiative the following round when combat started. More lizardmen deaths! Off to a good start... so far

The fight got even crazier as Circeus cast Summon Beserkers and sent them screaming up the stairs to attack the front rank, they made a couple kills. Gront got in there early too (iirc). The lizardmen champions were having trouble trying to get the 2 oozes off of their more modestly buff brothers, losing their spears in the process. Eventually the big leader, an actual thracian one might see in the pit fights or legit gladiatorial games in Dubzaron, stepped forward with a magic polearm and killed the last ooze and all 4 beserkers in one cleave volley. The regular lizardmen were shooting crossbows down the stairs at any of the lesser armored looking adventurers. But weren't able to make anyone's spells fizzle due to losing init or simply missing when they won it. PCs, despite putting the big hurt on the lizardmen early with beserkers and ooze, started rolling pretty badly, not killing enough enemies fast enough to keep crossbow fire off them from the lizardmens' back ranks. 

When Strider fell his horn of blasting went rolling out of his pouch onto the stairs and Autumn Leaves grabbed it up and blasted it forward, hitting all the lizardmen and killing a few with the deafening sound. The horn also destroyed the barricade completely which was good since the PCs were taking -2 to hit from fighting around it.The thracian big boss was quite angry indeed and picked up a crossbow from one of his dead compatriots just to aim it specifically at Autumn Leaves and killing the elf with a shot to the gut. Then killing Briggs with a cleave.

Lysander, for his crazy part, was holding the front line up the stairs after the blast and refusing to take even a single hit from 4 attacks a round. The lizardmen finally took enough casualties to make a 2nd morale check and the champions and the big geckos were fighting withdrawal. The thracian came down the stairs to try and attack Xanthos with his magic polearm but missed. Xanthos's 2 spiritual hammers moved down the stairs and finished the thracian off. At this point, thanks to Lysander declaring more lizardmen reinforcements coming from a door on the opposite side of the room the lizardmen were holding, the party began discussing retreat. 

The party grabbed up the bodies of Autumn Leaves, Strider, and Circeus and went as fast as they could to the foot of the stairs that spiral out of the volcano. We were working out their relative speed for a dungeon chase when discussion with the PCs made me realize that Briggs would count as food and modify the chance the lizardmen wanted to chase the party at all. With the modifier the dice declared the lizardmen weren't angry enough to take chase. They were hungry and instead ate Merrick Garland Briggs as the party hoofed it up the stairs and from across the volcano bottom saw their friend flayed and chomped down. 

At the top of the volcano Jeremiah Johnson said "what the hell happened down there?!" while the PCs triaged their compatriots. Circeus survived with a mortal wounds of messed up lungs. Strider and Autumn Leaves were not so lucky. Seeping bow wounds to the belly and chest weren't to be corrected in time to save them. They died as steam and jets of hot volcanic water went off nearby with Strider's last words being "keep exploring" and Autumn Leaves being "give my stuff to the lady mage". Buck and Kyle's folk escorted the party back to FOB Queen where the party is resting from their ordeal.

Afterword

It's not common for old school d&d, particular BX based systems like ACKS, to have session long combat. But that's exactly what happened this week and next!

Is this a problem? I'm not sure. I got better at it the following week for session 74 as you'll see. But the main thing is this large groups of beastmen and such, if not handled easily and quickly with magic, tend to just run on and on with their attacks. Then there's alot of questions about positioning and the DM has to make fair adjudication about where the front line is set up and how the big mob of monsters might react tactically.

I believe if the PCs would have won this combat they would have deemed this a fun session, even if all they did was kill the monsters and loot their lair; which we can assume is pretty stacked with treasure. But when a combat grinds on like this and the players don't win, the session will tend to cast a pall over the campaign for their enjoyment. 

I imagine some sorts of players enjoy the tactical problem of these sorts of combats. They were perhaps spending their time contemplating a good way to flank or turn the front line in or something. So this sort of thing is not necessarily a problem or a drag on a real d&d campaign with player agency: players can simply say "nope" if the problem doesn't seem fun for them to tackle.

As you'll see in the next session report the problem got bigger and more involved as the lizards took prisoners and many patrons and legacy high level PCs got involved to try and help solve things. 

Stay tuned!

Deceased

Dama (L1 Venturer) played by RR.  Current total xp: 75. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Darius LeVay (L1 Assassin) played by JB. Current Total XP:451. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Donald the Guardsman (L1 Fighter) played by MP. Current Total XP:570. DECEASED. Intra-party justice in Session 3.

Felix (L1 Thief) played by Nicholas. Current Total XP:431. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Hektor (L1 Paladin) played by Moai. DECEASED. Cause of Death: goblin warg rider throat removal surgery in Session 2

Leonidas the Inquisitor (L1 Cleric) played by RR.Current Total XP:498  DECEASED. Frozen undead blistering cold aura left his skin frostbitten and broken in Session 6. Body not recovered.

Mard the Mage (L1 Mage) played by Nicholas. DECEASED. Frozen undead blistering cold aura left his skin frostbitten and broken in Session 6. Body not recovered.

Yolo Baggins "My friends call me Swaggins" (L1 Gnomish Trickster) played by J. DECEASED. Paralyzed and eaten by ghouls in Session 12. Body not recovered.

Jack Filcher (L1 Thief) played by C. DECEASED. Shot full of arrows by Inthorn's brigands in Session 12. Body not recovered.

Swoleous Maximus (L1 Paladin). DECEASED. Captured then drawn and quartered by Inthorn the Brigand warlord in Session 12. Posthumously named "Petty Hero of Turos Tem" by Legate Valerian. Ashes offered a place of pride in the Hospital.

Damianus (L1 Cleric). DECEASED. Captured and beheaded by Inthorn the Brigand warlord in Session 12. Posthumously named "Petty Hero of Turos Tem" by Legate Valerian. Ashes offered a place of pride in the Hospital.

Bucky (L1 Barbarian). DECEASED. Became a illegal pit fighter during his downtime. Had two bouts to the death, winning the first and losing the second. Was killed by Young Jack Sparrow who sashayed into the ring, drank rum, and mogged on Bucky before putting a dagger into his ribs, killing him. This happened during downtime between Session 17 and 18.

Broll Wolf-Eater (L1 Barbarian). Current total XP: 1079. DECEASED. Carried off by harpies after falling for their enchanting song in Session 19.

Brother Franklin (L1 Cleric). DECEASED. Decapitated by a mad cultist of a Lovecraftian slime thing in Session 19.

Felix the Elder (L1 Bard). Total XP 825. DECEASED. Captured by mad cultists and fed to a Lovecraftian slime monster in Session 19.

Templar Flavius Africanus (L1 Cleric). Total XP 7. Killed by the claws and beak of mad harpies in Session 19.

Xendi (L1 Explorer). Total XP 6. DECEASED. Carried off by harpies after falling for their enchanting song in Session 19.

Yllmeeton (L3 Shaman). Total XP 4,563. Bludgeoned by the corpse of a bowmen by Rosie Odonnel hag in Session 21.

Longinus (L2 Assassin). Total XP 2,036. Had his face ripped off by Rosie Odonnel hag in Session 21.

Mandonio (L3 Fighter). Total XP 4,779. Charred to a leprous crisp by diseased Dragon breath in Session 22.

Corydon (L1 Joker). Total XP: 0. Burnt to a crisp by chimera breath so thoroughly his corpse wasn't even fit for the crows. Died with a smile on his face and a song in his heart. that's life and as funny as it seems... some people get their kicks, stomping on a dream... In Session 25.

Donny Keebler (L1 Elven Spellsword). Total XP 2,238. Had his legs burned completely off by chimera fire breath in Session 25.

Marina (L2 Fighter). Total XP: 2,204. Burnt into ash by a chimera fire breath in Session 25.

Gundro (L2 Gnomish Trickster). Total XP: 2,575. Had his mouth and tongue bitten off by a lizardman ambusher in the dank sewers below Cyfaraun in Session 26.

Polydoros (L1 Fighter). Total XP: 0. Had his legs ripped off and eaten by Akira monsters in the dark canopy of the Viaspen Forest in Session 28.

Odrum (L1 Explorer). Total XP: 287. Javelin to the heart from the hands of weird vine goblins hidden in the walls of Ferigno's lair in Session 30.

Garvin the Nutless Wonder (L1 Mage). Total XP: 0. Fell off the side of Ferigno's lair 20 feet to his death in Session 30.

Blackmoon (L1 Assassin). Total XP: 768. Choked to death by BOB from Twin Peaks while stealing treasure from Ferigno's dragon horde in Session 30.

Xanthus (L2 Cleric). Total XP: 2,364. Choked to death by BOB from Twin Peaks while hanging out on the roof of Ferigno's lair in Session 30.

Lord Zyklon (L1 Elven Spellsword). Total XP: 0. LORD ZYKLON DISEMBOWLED LORD ZYKLON upon finding himself on the losing side of the Desolation of Turos Tem.

Turin (L1 Cleric). Total XP: 0. Eaten by Wargs in Session 32.

Rat Face (L2 Thief) Total XP: 1,577. Seemingly grabbed in the dark by a Xenomorph in Session 36. In a sinkhole your party can hear you scream! 

Smarticus (L1 Mage) Total XP: 0. Captured by a Xenomorph in Session 36 for all the party to witness. Taken deep into a sinkhole.

Hearticus (L1 Cleric) Total XP: 0. Gored to death by giant horned beetles in Session 39 after projectile vomiting all over himself from the stink of sewer sludge.

Mickey Mouser (L1 Thief) Total XP: 0. Gored to death by giant horned beetles in Session 39 in the happiest place on earth: the Cyfaraun sewer!

Aenes (Level 1 Paladin) Total XP: 62. Swarmed by giant flies in the sewer beneath Cyfaraun in Session 40.

Acianus (Level 1 Mage) Total XP: 0. Chopped to pieces in Session 42 by a six armed demon statue from behind and quickly forgotten about by his compatriots who saved MadEye and lamented Hardar instead. But I'll never forget you Acinanu nanu...nanite... nananaa...

Hardar (Level 2 Mage) Total XP: 2,832. Chopped up in Session 42 by a six armed demon statue as he held his Darth Vader Choking Grip spell long enough for his compatriots to escape an unwinnable battle. His dream to become the most evil being in the universe suffers eternally the indignity of being remembered for self sacrifice and laying his life down for his friends.

Nubbs (Level 3 Thief) Total XP: 4,017. Swarmed by scarabs which bored into his ears and brain in Session 45.

Grummz (Level 1 Dwarven Vaultgard) Total XP: 0. Ripped limb from limb by a throng of skeletons and their undead golem leaders in Session 46.

Grommzs (Level 1 Dwarven Vaultguard) Total XP: 2,168. Torn to bits and eaten by trolls in session 48

Rapunzel (Level 4 Priestess) Total XP: 11,540. Torn to bits and eaten by trolls in Session 48.

Schizo (Level 1 Mage): Total XP: 0. Frozen to death by an assassin's guild ruffian bard wielding a Wand of Cold in session 54.

Marteen (Level 1 Thief): Total XP: 0. Fell to his death in Lamalla's Temple upon a pile of dragon horde gold. Corpse eaten by Sheila the Beautiful, an Ancient Blue Dragon in session 56.

Ambrose (Level 2 Cleric): Total XP: idk. Strangled to death by cursed octopi in a canoe on Lake Laman claiming the Sinister Stone of Sakkara for Law and eventual destruction in session 63.

Traiticus (Level 9 Fighter): Total XP: alot. Head split in half by Froggo's bronze magic "Fren Axe" during Operation Muscle Thunder on 08/09/22.

Alina (Level 7 Mage). Cut in half at her belt line by Froggo's bronze magic "Fren Axe" during Operation Muscle Thunder on 08/09/22.

Olgar McKenzie (Level 5ish Barbarian). Soul eaten by Stormbringer wielded by the Manson the mad assassin during Operation Muscle Thunder on 08/09/22.

Celeste (Level 7ish Witch). Soul eaten by Stormbringer wielded by the Manson the mad assassin during Operation Muscle Thunder on 08/09/22. Said Ancient Soul caused a backfire effect and blasted Manson's face off leaving him dead in the sea foam.

Allen A'Dulles (Level 1 Bard): Petrified by a basilisk in the Meniri Mountains in Session 66.

Cyfaraun (Level 1 Elven Spellsword): Eaten by basilisks in the Meniri Mountains in Session 66.

Tamryn (Level 1 Elven Spellsword):  Petrified by a basilisk in the Meniri Mountains in Session 66

Allen the Bard (Level 1 Bard): Petrified by a basilisk in the Meniri Mountains in Session 66.

UnNamed Venturer (Level 1 Venturer): Killed by astral demons and sucked into the vacuum of spacetime in Session 66.

Major Garland Briggs (Level 1 Explorer): Killed by the crossbow bolt of an angry thracian in a dormant (?) volcano dungeon called Queens Rest Mountain. Then his body was eaten by giant chameleons as the rest of the party made their escape in Session 73.

Autumn Leaves (Level 1 Elven Spellsword): Died to lizardman crossbow bolts to the tears of her adventuring compatriots who tried to revive her after absconding with her corpse just outside Queens Rest Mountain in Session 73.

Alexa this is so sad play "The Parting Glass" by the Clancy Brothers


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