Saturday, November 26, 2022

Frontier Bulletin 24: The End of Cahn or Vampire vs Kaiju!

Players:

Laughing Fox, Shaman

Dogbreath, Fighter

Hellena Keller, Dwarf Machanist

Laurentius, Cleric

Boldvay, Magic User

Mark, Thief

Whiskey John, Explorer

Plus Boldvay's dog

After being forced to retreat twice, and at deadly costs, the players were taking no chances against the ancient vampire Cahn and his undead army. Some sessions back, the players had found the Black Eidolon and it's manual. The last session they befriended a family of storm giants, the Bunyans. With these turn of events in mind, they quickly formulated a plan. They decided to be back at the mines after sunrise, have Zappos the Wizard to summon and use the Black Eidolon to dig out the vampire horde, and finally get the Bunyans to pour down their holy water upon the hellish undead. Simple, right? Pretty much and it was executed nearly perfectly.

Flying with the giants in their castle Storm-Anvil, the players quickly arrived at the deadly mines as the sun was rising. Zappos began the hour long summoning process of the Black Eidolon. The players themselves prepared themselves. The Black Eidolon, which was just a foot tall black statue, grew into a gargantuan 300 ft tall, animated golem. With Zappos controlling the giant, eldritch weapon, it began to dig into the mine with its mighty hands. 

Soon, many of the vampires began falling from the eidolon's hands, landing into ash. The other undead, ghouls, wights, skeletons, etc., landed on the ground, crumpled and unmoving. Some of the older vampires (probably Cahn's daughters) tried to escape by flying away as giant bats, but were burned away by the sun. . While the eidolon was digging, the Bunyans let loose their pool of holy water to rain down upon the vile dark creatures and flooding the mines. Finally, a black stone coffin fell unto the ground. 

Before the party could get to it, a black, many eyed and tentacled eldricth horror from ancient times emerged from the now gaping pit: a Shoggoth! It grappled with the Black Eidolon who was forced to stop it's digging. Unfortunately for the tentacled, many eyed creature, it proved no match to the gargantuan stone giant. The shoggoth let out a high pitched, artificial sounding scream, and was soon torn apart and stomped on until it stopped moving. 

The players soon raced towards to the coffin. They pried it open to shine some light on Cahn. Clad in his black armor with red bat, he began to emerge while half burning away. Laughing Fox, in a moment of mad genius, covered his naked hand in garlic and punched Cahn in the face. Cahn flinched, but Laughing Fox was drained, again, of two levels. Sad!

Cahn soon succumbed to the rays of the sun, and now only ash lay within his black coffin. Lauerintius had the other pour some of the holy water inside the coffin, just to be sure. With the vampire menace destroyed, the party soon looted Cahn's treasure chambers. And a great haul was obtained! They found many spell scrolls (including Wish!), much coins and gems, and even some magical items, including a pair of Eagle Eyes. In Cahn's coffin, a Rod of Control Shoggoth was found. Zappos claimed this as his part of the loot, while the Bunyans took a share of the coins and gems. After all was said and done, the Bunyans bid their farewells and headed west, and players and Zappos set forth back to Pottsfort.


Sunday, October 16, 2022

Frontier Bulletin 23: Stony Roosters & Dead Horses

Laughing Fox: Shaman, lvl 5

Helena Keller: Dwarf Machinist, lvl 4

Boldvay: Magic-User, lvl 4

Mark: Thief, lvl5

Whiskey: Explorer, lvl 2


The party kept their word and returned to the Power Station the next weekend. They left out on Friday but unlike their last trip, this one proved more eventful. That first night, they encountered a flock of 4 cockatrices who were flying towards the group's camp. Neither side were surprised, and fighting soon broke out. Spells were cast, including Holy Chant, Dispel Magic, Phantasmal force, and soon to follow, Spiritual Weapon. Arrows and bolts were launched as well. Mark used the opportunity to use the Horn of Blasting at the foul creatures. This, while proving very effective, scared off all the horses. Still, not long after, the party emerged victorious. Laughing Fox collected the bodies of the stony birds and the players decided to settle back in for the night and to search for the horses in the morning.

Early the next morning, a couple of the horses comes back to camp. The party soon leaves to search for the others. While most of the party stays in their wagon, Whiskey stays ahead of the group on foot, looking for tracks. They venture towards the northeast, and finally after some hours of searching, stumble upon horse tracks. They lead to a copse where they can see flying above a hippogriff with one of their horses clutched in it's claws. It soon drops the horse, and they hear a sickening wet crunch. The players then notice one of their other horses fleeing from the copse and is headed their way, with about six hippogriffs hot on it's trail. 

The players grabbed Whiskey and Laughing Fox decides to use the fleeing horse as a "snackrifice" so that the party can get away in their wagon. I ruled that each of the hippogriffs have a 33% to continue to focus on the poor horse instead of the party. Two of the hungry creatures made the roll and soon flew off with neighing horse. The horses tied to the wagon see and hear what happens to their equine companion and soon break morale and flee, taking the wagon with them. The remaining four hippogriffs soon chased after the now fleeing party in their wagon! Laughing Fox tried to cast a spell against the flying beasts, but I ruled that since the terrain was rough, he wouldn't have the focus needed to properly cast his spell. 

The wagon manages to stay ahead of the hippogriffs, but just barely. Many in the wagon use their missile weapons, which prove effective. Boldvay uses up another charge for his Staff of Wizardry and casts Fireball. This roasts and drops the pursuing bird horses. They finally reach back to their camp of the previous night, where they find two more of their horses waiting for them. Eventually, they make their way up to the Power Station where they are greeted by the welcoming dwarves. They also find that the Joe Bridger III has finished up the gunpowder. 

They stay the night and Laughing Fox, Joe, and Helena use the combine the bodies of the cockatrices with some of the gunpowder to make grenades that can explode and cause the targets to make a saving throw against petrification or be turned to stone. Nice. They head back the next day and on their way home, encounter a family of storm giants flying around in their cloud castle. I decided that these were the same storm giants that Urgag the Orc Chief (a patron player) encountered earlier in the week. He tried to recruit them but with them being Lawful, they told him to get on and leave them be. I also decided since they're lawful beings, the Bunyans (as Urgag called them) are also good Christian giants. 

They hailed the players and told them not to be afraid. They invited them to their cloud castle, Stormanvil. The giants treated the players well and took them back to Pottsfort. They even showed them their giant pool of holy water that they kept in case they ran into foul demonic or undead creatures during their travels. The players then asked them if they could help them with their vampire problem. The giants agreed, and decided to stay around Pottsfort for the following week. The rest of that story is soon to follow...




Saturday, October 15, 2022

Frontier Bulletin 22: Into the Deep

The Party:

Laughing Fox (Shaman)

Helena Keller (Dwarven Machinist)

Boldvay (Magic-User)

Mark (Thief)

Laurentius (Cleric)

Whiskey John (Explorer)

Henchmen:

Dogbreath

And Boldvay's various henchmen

Some months back, my first patron met his end. Duran Durin, the leader of the dwarves who settled in the western tail end of the Devil's Spine, and who established the dwarven keep dubbed the Power Station, went into a large underground, glowing chamber with a small band of about hundred dwarves to find what had killed the lone dwarf who went scouting said chamber. They clashed in battle against a tribe of albino orcs, and the dwarven survivors never made it back up top to their brethren. Soon after, a smaller force of dwarfs went into the chamber, only to never to return. You can listen more about this battle here

The morale of the remaining dwarves broke and many left. A good many went and stayed at Woodshome, the emerging boom town that has built up around Pottsfort Keep. They brought with them sad tidings. The players went up to investigate, but decided to not explore the cavern. They did give their word to the remaining dwarves that they would eventually go down and find out what happened to their leader. Also, with the help of Joe Bridger III, they began the process of making gunpowder. Finally, the players made good on their word, and returned to face whatever was in the Deep.

Despite the lack of dwarven patrols, the travel up to Power Station was uneventful. After checking in with the remaining dwarven force and on the progress of their gunpowder, the party headed down into the deep. One hundred feet down later, the found themselves in an extremely large, glowing cavern. They were surrounded by a small, greenish glowing jungle of large mushrooms, ferns, and tall grass. The party soon head south, the same direction that Duran went. Tracks were found, and they soon emerged out of the underground forest and into a vast open space. They could hear water rushing far to the east, but continued to follow the tracks. 


About forty yards out of the vegetation,  the players came across a decomposing dwarven body. It was partially eaten and the rest was slowly being consumed by a fungal growth. Laurentius cast Speak to the Dead to get information out of the corpse and asked it three questions:1) what killed him, 2) where was Durin's body, and 3) were there any orcs still living. A voice came out of the rotted mouth in response: "A black tentacled creature killed me,"Durin's body is laying in a field of corpses," and "I don't know."

Laughing Fox decided to ask his ancestors three questions of his own. The first was if there were more than ten orcs alive; they replied with 'no'. The second was if the creature that killed the dwarves supernatural. They replied with another 'no.' Finally, he asked if the party had the man power to kill the creature. This time the ancestors replied with a 'yes, but use caution.' The party continued to look for the remains of the mighty dwarven leader and to avenge his death.

Travel was slow, as the party was cautious as to what might be in the cave with them. Finally, they found the remains of a large battle. There were many corpses, including that of Duran Durin himself. Clasped in his rotting hands was the magical sword Dragon's Spite that he had found. Helena took the sword to give back to Duran's clan when, or if they made it back. 

Not long after that, the party came across the orc village made of stone. While exploring the ancient village, the party fought against some wondering fire beetles; these were soon dispatched. Once done, they faced the imposing, primeval temple located in the middle of the village. It's imposing bat and toad like features that were carved into the stone permeated an eldritch and weird vibe towards those that looked upon it. Before preceding, the party gathered in their battle formation, cracked opened the 20' stone doors, and sent in Laughing Fox's totem animal, the monkey, to scout ahead. While the monkey was scouting, Laurentius cast Bless on everyone. The monkey returned and told of a tentacled, inky black creature towards the back of the temple, near the alter. With this information, the party formed a battle plan against the eldritch creature. 

The party fully opened the ancient black doors and made their way into the blood covered chamber. Inside, the party went through a 30 ft hallway that led into a 60 ft square chamber. Along the walls, they viewed primeval frescos depicting blood sacrifices and weird rituals of humans and dinosaurs to the blasphemous alien god Tsathoggua. Near the altar, right where the monkey said it would be, was the squid-like creature that had killed the surviving dwarven army and forced the orcs to flee: the gloom crawler who was asleep on partially devoured and rotting bodies. Gaining surprise on the unwary creature, the party quickly enacted their plan. Boldvay cast Phantasmal Force to make the crawler think it was trapped inside the cage; Mark quickly blew from the Horn of Blasting to severely wound it; Laughing Fox cast the shaman's equivalent to the Bless spell to further give the party an edge; and the others let loose arrows and bolts into it's hulking body. Boldvay's spell was a success, and so was Mark's use of the magical horn, unfortunately, only Dog Breath managed to hit the creature with his arrow. Still, the battle didn't last long, as the crawler wasn't able to put up much of a fight and was quickly killed. Duran was avenged. 

After the gloom crawler's death, the players began to explore the small temple. The found another large stone door behind the altar covered in runes, but were unable to open it. They found five vases and a black chest under the altar and two side passages, one going east, the other west. They used the monkey to go down the trap door they found in the room that the eastern hall led to and not long after, he came back. He told of a tunnel about 600 yards that exited to a small dock on the western bank of a river. Down the western hall, the found another small room, but nothing of worth was found. The vases contained 200 ep each, Mark tried to open the chest, but failed to notice it was trapped. The trap, being a small needle, injected with a poison and he failed. Thankfully it wasn't fatal, and he only took six damage. 

With the chest now opened, and the players took a look to see what treasures were inside: various precious gems, two spell scrolls, two potions, an ancient elven cloak, and primitive hand axe that had magical aura about it. They quickly gathered their new finds, headed out of the evil temple, and went back up to the above levels of the Power Station. The remaining dwarves decided to let Helena keep Duran's sword and the party vowed to return the next week once the gun powder was complete.




Monday, September 19, 2022

Red Frontier Bestiary: Skinwalkers

Skinwalkers are a rare breed of skin changers. Like their werewolf counterparts, sorcery is used to turn the practitioner to a more animal like state. Unlike werewolfism and other forms of lycanthropy, the magic used for skin walkers is more ancient, more primal, and possibly tied to the Fae itself. Another difference between the two, is that while werewolves take on the characteristics of wolves, skin-walkers don't take on any certain characteristics of any known animal. Instead, their skin sheds and tears off very quickly as their limbs elongate and become more bulky. Their faces, along with their heads, elongate as well, but take on more a leathery, skull like appearance with long, needle-like teeth. Their short fur is the color of black ash, and their eyes become a glowing grey. Skinwalkers are also able to talk to their soon to be victims through telepathy. They can quickly move, including making long leaps. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that even children can be turned into skinwalkers, though a lesser version. And unlike lycanthropes, some skinwalkers, usually the head or older members of their "families" can cast some magic. While susceptible to holy water and silver (only in creature form), skinwalkers can be killed with normal weapons. No one knows the origins of these ancient, vile creatures, but many of the red men tribes have tales of skinwalkers that go back for centuries. Men, women, and even children that have wandered away from their tribe sometimes come back months later, changed, and ready to lead others into this dark path, or even feast on their flesh. Skinwalkers are not known to be solitary creatures. They usually form "families" either formed from actual families, or from various individuals of different tribes. Keep you settings in mind, especially on warm nights, and keep an ear out for strange voices when you're out in the Red Frontier. You know never know who or what is watching you, especially when you think you are alone. Though in the Red Frontier, you're never truly alone.

Skinwalker Stats:

Frequency: Rare

No. Appearing: 1-8

AC: 5-3

Move: 15"/18"

Hit Dice 4-6+2

%In Lair: 25%

Treasure Type: E

No. of Attacks: 2

Damage/Attack: 1-8/2-12 (1-6/2-8 for younger members)

Special Attacks: Older members and heads of families cast spells, usually Charm, Sleep, Hold Person

Special Defenses: Nil

Magical Resistance: Standard

Intelligence: Average-Exceptional

Alignment: Chaotic Evil

Sizes: (In creature form) M-L

Psionic Ability: Telepathy



      

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Frontier Bulletin 21: A Trip to the Haunted Castle Part Two

Laurentius (Cleric)

Boldvay (Magic-User)

Mark (Thief)

Whiskey Jack (Explorer)

Plus Boldvay's various henchmen


Oh yeah! A second trip to the spooky castle! For this session, the party is joined by newcomer Whiskey Jack, a level one Explorer. Woo-hoo! The party arrives at Zappos's place and ask about any info he may have gotten from his snakeman prisoner. He replies that he did. The rest of the snakemen are low in number, maybe eight or so left, are lead by a snakeman wizard, and are indeed holed up in the northwest tower of the castle. The party pays Zappos to teleport them right outside of the castle and they soon began their way to find the vile serpentmen. 

Instead of making they're way through the courtyard and castle proper, the party heads to the castle's northwestern tower and decide to climb up and try to find and retrieve the Black Eidolon manual. Moving around the mote, they quickly found the tower they sought. Before scaling it, invisible was cast on the thief Mark who also carried a rock that had Silence cast upon it. He slowly made his way up to the western window on the second story and once inside, placed the rock down and attached his rope to the opened window and threw it down for the others to climb.

While they were taking their time to climb up, Mark saw that the room he emerged in contained four snakemen and what appeared to be human with a grayish pallor and adorned with many stiches sweeping the floor. Out of the four snakemen, the apparent leader, robed in a black cloak with various insignia and zodiac signs, was at a table containing various alchemical instruments and other equipment. He seemed to be preoccupied. The three other snakemen hadn't noticed Mark, but instead had their backs turned away from the window. Another table in the room had a glass dome over it with various magical items inside. The rest of the party finally made it through the window quietly and quickly surprised attack the snakemen. Their surprise was successful and soon all the snakemen were on the floor, dead. The other creature inside just watched as the players hewn the serpent folk down.

Laurentius realizes the creature is a sort of undead type and used turn undead on it. While he made the number he needed, it failed. The creature then tells the cleric that his turn ability has no effect on him as he is indeed alive, but made from various parts of different human corpses. He lets everyone know his name is Frank and that he's a patchwork of body parts brought back to life by the liche Aristide Malevol the Patrician, another member of the vile family that calls Castle Xyntillan home. He goes into the adjoining room and soon the party hears various clicks and buzzing. The glass dome on the table lifts and they plunders the table's contents. The items they recovered are: 1) a journal made of human skin, 2) a spell book with various level spells, 3) a gold and onyx sacrificial dagger, 4) a Ring of Spirits, and 5) a Staff of Commanding. Not bad at all.

Frank then reemerges and tells the group that the fowl liche has been away for some time, and during his absence, the Black Scale gang has moved in. He also tells them that he hasn't helped them much and has mostly stuck to his own business. Frank also let's them know that there isn't as many of the snakemen left. Next, the players move into the side room Frank just left only to find strange metal contraptions, with electric buzzing and humming. They soon left. After that, the party sees some stairs leading down and make their way to first floor with Frank in tow. Emerging out of the stairway, they see two snakemen throwing another one of their kind into what seems to be a pit of acid. Whiskey Jack charges the snake men, who being surprised, all manage to fall into the deadly acid. Unfortunately, the snakemen managed to splash some acid on Whiskey, who took some damage. They're quickly dispatched. After that, they dispose of the bodies by throwing them into the acid pits. Searching around the room, they see a large magical mirror and a pedestal with a black and eldritch tome. Frank clues them in that the liche uses it to go to different places and is usually gone for long lengths of time. 

Before leaving to go back to the teleportation spot, they get a bright idea to deal with the liche. Finding a rug in front of the mirror, the party moved it of over the acid pit, weighted down (or tied down, not quite sure which) each corner to where it was tight and level, placed the pedestal on the other side of the rug (with the book on top), and finally placed the mirror in front of the rug. This was done in hopes that one day the liche would return, climb out of the mirror, and walk onto the trapped rug, and finally fall into the acid pit as said rug collapsed. Here's a picture: 

After all that, they finally left the castle unharmed and returned to Pottsfort with treasure and Frank in tow. Frank was convinced by Laurentius to join the church, and the players, over the next few days of down time, quietly went back to the castle (with help of Zappos's magic mirror) and carefully retrieved the very expensive lab equipment from the second story of the laboratory tower.


Sunday, August 28, 2022

Frontier Bulletin 20: A Trip to the Haunted Castel Part One

Laurentius (Cleric), plus his Henchman

Boldvay (Magic-User), his 3 Henchmen, and Slave

Mark (Thief), 2 War Dogs


So with only two players this session (one playing both Boldvay and Mark), and with not much else to do, our team decides to follow up the lead for the search of the Black Eidolon Manual. They sought the aid of Zappos to teleport them to the Castle Xyntillan, which is located on a hill in a swamp northwest of Rivertown. He happily obliged and and charges them the friend price of 350 gold for the whole group. They knew to expect a gang of snakemen, but didn't know what else might be waiting for them in the long deserted castle. Oh, and for this session and the next, I'll be putting Melan's excellent fun house module Castle Xyntillan to use. Also, check out his blog here.

"Wait!", I hear some of you shout. "The BROSR is against the use of modules!" This is mostly true. Most modules or "adventures" are nothing more than premade stories that are the antithesis of what D&D is about. Older modules, and some newer ones are simply that: modular. They're like legos, just something you can plug into your game with no fuss, no muss. Unfortunately, most DMs use models as a crutch, instead of not making their own adventures, dungeons, etc. Also, a lot of modules aren't playtested or are just crap. Castle Xyntillan on the other hand was playtested for two or three years, is totally modular and even comes with a local town the players can visit if you want to use that. It's also a "funhouse" type of dungeon, which is something I normally wouldn't care for, but this one caught my eye. I usually find them to be too silly, but I noticed that Xyntillan seemed to lean more into the Hammer gothic horror, which was a big seller for me. Plus, I bought this before I got into the BROSR and I figured, why not put it to use in my game?

So back to the session. Zappos teleports them into some bushes in front of the castle and the party begins their search. They begin by scouting around the mote of the decrepit keep, and finally take the main road into the structure. The adventurers find themselves in the courtyard and eventually head into the northern of the two ruined gate towers. Inside, they open the door that leads into a hallway. Making their way north, they find another door and before trying to open it, they put their ears to it and listen. On the other side they can hear two snakemen "talking" to one another. They head back a bit, grab a rock from the rubble, have Boldvay cast Silence on it, and hold on to it as they open the door (it was unlocked). They surprise the two snakemen, and quickly take them down. This room was another tower, the so-called Garden Tower. They quickly find another door on the right that lead back into a semi-secluded part of the courtyard. Walking around, they find rose vines growing along the path. It became obvious that flowers were trying to attach themselves to player in order to slow them down. (I read this wrong. In the book, it's the hands of rotting corpses that the rose plants feed off of that try to trip up players. Still though, it worked out.) Realizing what was happening, they set fire to the roses and the plants shrunk back to the wall. The party soon made their way to opposite door. Before trying the door, they looked through the window beside it and saw the inside of a hallway and not much else.



They door was neither locked nor trapped and the adventurers made their way safely into the hall. They soon heard sounds of heavy galloping on the other side of the wall to their north and east, and decided to go through the door in the middle right of the hall. The party make they're through a room with rotting banners, another with a violent whirlwind, and finally, a room just north of the one with the whirlwind. Inside they could hear a woman singing as she was putting up bloody linens to dry. Turning around, it was revealed that she was werewolf! Instead of the attacking her the party decided to parley with her. She responded in kind. They asked her about the snakemen and where they might be located within the giant keep. This seemed to aggravate her and she quickly let them know that the serpentmen were intruders here and have been causing problems. The wolf-lady told them that the snakemen were located in the very northwestern tower. She soon gave them directions to get there, to be careful of one of the undead members of the house and his monstrous menagerie in the north, and that she would also tell the two dream horses (the cause of the loud galloping) to settle down so that the group could get through.

They gave her their thanks as she led them back to the hallway with the dream horses. She yelled to the fantastic mares to stop and told the players that should hurry to get to the other side before the horses started again. Our adventures quickly made their way through the hall and noticed bloodied and torn corpses of snakemen and the two "horses": one a violent storm cloud, the other a burst of light. They made their way to the left door. Not long after, they caught six more snakemen unawares, and with surprise, three backstabs from the thief, and other attacks, quickly killed all but one of the vile serpentmen. not knowing the full numbers of the snakeman and thinking they might not be able to avoid the undead hunter, they decided to head back and leave the castle grounds. They managed to snake their way back through the various halls and chambers, and soon found the teleporter that lead back to Pottsfort. After returning, they told Zappos what they found, and left the snakeman there to be interrogated by the wily wizard.


Friday, August 12, 2022

Frontier Bulletin 19: The Devouring of the Twelve-Headed Hydra

Players: 

Laughing Fox (Shaman) with his henchman Dogbreath

Laurentius (Cleric) along with two of his henchman

Hellena Kellar (Dwarf Mechanist)


It's been a month since the twelve-headed hydra laid waist to the Bloated Badger and forced Wirrow and his fellow hobbits off his land. Since then, Laughing Fox has put a plan together. Over the month, he's gathered a small army of giant catfish that he's kept in a small, manmade pond. He managed to gather 27 giant catfish. Laughing Fox's plan was when they confronted the hydra, he would release the giant catfish,, and hope they will get a surprise on the fowl beast and do enough damage that it would make the rest of the battle easier. The party also had planned to have Boldvay cast Paralysis from his Staff of Wizardry. Unfortunately Boldvay's player didn't make it for the session. The players were a bit nervous and thought about abandoning the plan to do something else. But their bravery prevailed and decided to help their friend Wirrow in his plight.

Before setting out, Laughing Fox asked his ancestors when the best time to attack the hydra, if it was hydra mating season, and where the hydra was nesting. There answers were: best to attack during the day, it wasn't mating season, and that it was nesting on land. With that said, the hired a boat (the very same that brought them back from Rivertown), put Hellena Kellar in the crab-mech they found, bought a lot of chum to lead the giant catfish, and finally set out. Their plan was to draw the hydra out, using themselves as bait, with Hellena Kellar waiting in the crab mech underwater to attack, and with the giant catfish waiting on the side to surprise the hydra. 

Arriving at the desolated river tavern, the party saw the wreckage the hydra wrought. They smelled something rotting and soon discovered pieces of Harley the river dragon stuck among the decimated settlement and along the bank. Various carrion birds were feasting on the remains, and floating debris of the Bloated Badger had made their home in the river itself. Cleaver, the sentient great axe the party found awhile back, swore an oath of vengeance upon the hydra. Laughing Fox and Laurentius both cast blessed on the party to even the odds, then the  players began to shout and draw the attention of the hydra. The twelve headed hydra swam out to meet the players in their boat. Before this, I decided on how to roll for the catfish army. Normally, due to it's size I would just divide the group in to two or three smaller groups and roll whatever dice for each group to keep things simple and fast. This time I gave the players an option: I could stick to that or roll for each single giant catfish. The group decided on the latter. Well, before that, the fish managed to surprise the hydra as it was making it's way to the players. With that, I then rolled 27 d20 to hit. 19 of the giant catfish succeeded.

They swarmed the unsuspecting hydra and with decent damage rolled for each hit (giant catfish have four bites that do 2d8 damage) the hydra went down. The players and the ship's crew looked aghast as the hydra struggled and was overwhelmed by the biting giant fish, and sank in a frothy maelstrom of blood and gore. Some of the crew even wretched at the site. I ruled that once their feeding was done, Laughing Fox would lose control of the fish and they would swim back into the river. With large sea-beast vanquished, the party went ashore to look through it's nest that it maid in the remains of the tavern. They found a mermaid statue maid of pure gold clasping a black pearl worth 5000 gp. The party also found four brilliant gems, four pieces of jewelry, and magical scale armor made of greenish-gold clams, and 10,000 gp. Finally, the greatest of the treasure was found: a pair of Gauntlets of Ogre Power. The party also brought back two of the hydra's heads.

They soon left and arrived back to Woodshome where the hobbits were hosting games for adventurers and warriors to kill the hydra. Wirrow, surprised at what the party accomplished, congratulated them and offered them half of the 10,000 gp to the ongoing games. After that, the players had some magic items identified, including some found from previous sessions. 

A couple of things. First, from here on out, the session reports will be called Frontier Bulletins. I wanted something more exciting than "session report" and had my players brainstorm for a better title. Second, the giant catfish army. Pretty powerful, right? Well, I allowed it for a couple of reasons. One, it was well thought out by Laughing Fox's player, and seemed reasonable. Plus it took over a month to gather said army. Second, with the use of animal control with his ring, keeping them fed, and separated from the rest of the river, seemed reasonable to me. I dig this out-of-the-box thinking that players can bring to the table and that D&D (or in this case ACKS) supports. It's an example of player skill vs character skill. And yes, it's on the meta side as the players all have access to the Core Rulebook and know all the monster stats. I don't have problem with this as I'd rather player with players who don't dumb themselves down. I'm running a game with actual, breathing, thinking human beings. Why should they have to play stupid? Playing stupid = poor player skill. Honestly, as long they don't look at my maps and non-existent notes, I really don't care. I think that the Alt-Right DM (may peace be upon him) says it best in these two posts

Frontier Bulletin 24: The End of Cahn or Vampire vs Kaiju!

Players: Laughing Fox, Shaman Dogbreath, Fighter Hellena Keller, Dwarf Machanist Laurentius, Cleric Boldvay, Magic User Mark, Thief Whiskey ...