Thursday, March 28, 2024

Dubzaron Session144: Expedition to the Swamp Mountain

Time: played 03/13/24. Explored two days and need one day of rest. Actions 03/17/24.

Participating PCs
Billy (Willow): L7 Mystic (Monk), Lawful. RIP
George: L4 Beastmaster, Lawful. RIP
Proteus: L3 Mage (Soothsayer), Neutral. RIP
Reaver: L5 Barbarian (Death Dealer), Neutral. E. Dealt Death.
Rory: L5 Barbarian (Death Dealer), Neutral. E. Dealt Death.

Rory: Subatai L4 Nephilim. RIP

XP for Treasure: 3,900
XP for Kills: 5,700
XP for Magic Item(s): 0
Total XP: 9,600

XP Cuts: 4
PC XP cut: 4,800

Time: Session on 03/13/2024. Adventured for 2 days. Need one day rest. Actions can begin 03/16/2024.

What happened? 
So this week the party wanted to return to Queens Rest Mountain to delve the dungeon there. But 1:1 time came up in a big way. 

Queen's Rest Mountain is actually a volcano and the dungeon is INSIDE of it. For months now I hinted that the mountain was a bit smokier and something may be happening. Will it erupt soon?

Well, no. Because I'm a half-ass style DM who forgot to do anything with these worldbuilding hints. Until this week. I finally go around to creating a list of random events with the volcano on a percentage based table. And because I know I'm a lazy DM I tasked the nearest Patron (Kyle O'Conner) with rolling on that table at a set time frame (which I won't reveal here because players read this). 

One of the entries on the table is that the volcano will start smoking severely and the smoke would be poisonous to breathe. And this is the entry that hit this week. So the players were a bit stymied or thought they might be. 

To start the session they had a smaller party (Reaver's player wasn't online yet) so they decided to trek out to the volcano to see if they could approach the mountain. George the beastmaster is a wilderness expert so he gauged what the approach with the least smoke would be (from the southeastern corner of the mountain) so they approached from there.

The smoke billowed out from the volcano in thick waves as they tried to crawl under it and climb up to the crater at the top of the mountain. About 10 minutes in I called for a Save Vs Poison. Some players made it and Billy (Willow) has immunity to poison so I informed him he could breathe the smoke with no real damage to himself or his lungs. Proteus Beta, however, failed his save fr fr no cap. Took 6 damage. And died.

Laughter hit the mic since Proteus just dies all the time. And it was funny to guys like Rory with his big HP pool, that 6 was enough to down a guy. The party, however, had no healer. And Proteus's "Mortal Wounds" roll was not good. He needed to get back to a healer at the Forward Operating Base in like a day to be saved. Unfortunately there is no road to Queens Rest Mountain so there is a small chance of getting lost going out there and/or back. With George the Beastmaster in the party they'd need to roll a 1 on a d20 to Get Lost so everything would be good right? Wrong. I rolled a 1.

The party was lost for a long enough time in the mountains where Proteus didn't get back to a healer in time and died. Proteus's player was pretty dejected and didn't have a backup PC handy in this part of the map (or elsewhere IIRC) so he dropped for the night. Sorry Proteus! fr fr

The moral of the story for DMs reading this is that it's much easier to run world in motion events with 1:1 time but you need to actually do it (or task a backup DM/Patron with doing it). It's worth the extra work so do it!

Around this time Reaver logged on and the party relayed the sad tale of Proteus the Suffocated. They were then stuck with trying to figure out what to do with the remaining 2.5 hours of session time they had. They didn't want to risk the Mountain's posionous smoke again and had no ready solution to deal with said smoke. So they decided to trek towards Muppetlantis (iirc) to maybe delve it a bit or by close by to it for next session.

They also decided to take a longer trek west back to the Empire through the mountains, rather than on Warlord Kyle's roads. In the hopes they'd stumble over a lair or something in the wilderness that could be "tonights adventure". Well, this happened but they got more than they bargained for.

Just 6 miles (1 hex) away from FOB:Queen they stumbled over a swamp-mountain. In this boggy area there were about a half dozen little islands in the bog. And a game trail that was also a bit out of the water as well. Each little island had a cave entrance and the center island had a toppled ancient ruin of a miniature keep. This looked ominous to say the least so they decided to Track the trail and see what might be around. 

They had like 4 trackers on hand since this was a very wilderness oriented party makeup and they gathered that some sort of bi-pedaled giants with clawed feet lived in this bog. They figured "sounds good lets check it out and get paid" iirc.

While doing so they noticed a warband or wandering guard of the local creatures. They were giant sized with shaggy hair like weeping willows. They were covered in what looked like red smoking moss. 

Eventually they figured out that I re-skinned a Troll lair and slightly changed the monsters' abilities. They were healed by fire and hurt by cold rather than normal Trolls which are the other way around. 

This wasn't clear to most of the party until near the end of the very drawn out battle. I'll give the main points of the battle rather than round by round. 

Reaver and Rory downed most of the creatures with their very massive barbarian attacks and Reaver having drank a Potion of Superheroism early on. 

Subatai used a hypnotic pattern early on and had 3 of the creatures crowd controlled until one of the Smoke Trolls regenerated and nearly clawed Subatai in half. This broke the concentration on the Pattern and released 3 Smoke Trolls and things got hairy.

George and Billy were downed thanks to all these strong creatures being back on the board. They fought well and Billy survived his Mortal Wounds check iirc. 

The Smoke Trolls morale broke early which caused a fighting withdrawl and they kept yelling back to their home cave (and all over) for help. I deemed this a few listen checks each round to see if reinforcements showed up and the answer was no for like 7 rounds, amazingly enough. Sometimes the dice help out.

Reaver discovered that he could jam an iron spike into the trolls, upon them being downed, to prevent them regenerating. ("Cold Iron" and all that). But it didn't always work (I wonder why? I know.) So they eventually were able to make headway and the barbarians, despite taking some shots, did finish off the warband and were able to loot the cave of same. The barbarians also chopped up the Smoke Troll young that were in the cave. Reaver grabbed one of the youth up to study or hench later or something? 

As they heard the rest of the lair blowing warhorns (finally getting the Listen check) they grabbed up the goods and fled. I made a Wilderness Evasion check to see if the Smoke Trolls caught up with our 2 remaining heroes as they strapped their fallen comrades to the backs of horses and got them back to FOB:Queen. They didn't get lost returning home.

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