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.

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