Monday, September 24, 2012

Castle Zagyg - sessions 11 & 12

Sessions #11 (September 7th) and #12 (September 14th)

The various members of the adventurous party between the two sessions:

"Nathaniel" (human thief)*
Gogax (halfling thief)
Thidrek (sleestak)
Maragon (human fighter?)**
Norfolk (halfling thief)
Darf (dwarven fighter)
Nick the Pike (human fighter)
Hairy and Stinky (Darf's Bugbear henchmen)
Kellan (human illusionist)
Kip (human fighter, Kellan's follower)
Gimli of Geoff (dwarven fighter)
Morgan (human barbarian, Gimli's follower)***

* couldn't remember the chracter's name
** later chaged his name to Biff (Joe kept mingling between Maragon and Morgan)
*** later changed his name to Conan (Joe kept mingling between Morgan and Maragon)

Previously on Castle Zagyg (in Joe's words): 

"Your castle is getting flooded with refugees from both the elven forest and human cities and towns nearby. Apparently they have been invaded by dragon armies, and many people fled to the castle that was so powerful that apparently they withstood a dragon army assault lead by 6 dragons.

They also tell you that the dragon army is in the march this way again, but they're not worried since you all held them off last time with such ease. They have full faith in Gimli and his crew."

Into the Fortress

We took the same route than last time through the dungeons below until the dwarven chapel and then all the way up into a large dining room. There, ghosts wandered about and offered real food & drinks to the party. Most were wary about them until some dared to try it. Not all the effects were good, Conan got turned into a bumblebee, Gogax's skin turned green and Norfolk stank like fish and grew boar tusks.

Continuing exploring the level found that bandits have made their hideout here. We killed two dogs and a guard, and captured another guard that, tied and gagged, we used to open all doors. He was known as "The Gimp". More bandits were found and killed, until only the leader and his plump mistress remained.

We then found a large room full of piles of refuse, which we decided to search for hidden treasure. Kellan turned his Robe of Scintillating Colors mesmerizing the giant rats and black centipedes that moved to attack us as soon as be begun disturbing the piles. Once killed the vermin we continued searching and found invisible spriggans in the fireplace, which were also killed. Among other things we found  a magic pipe that could be the key to control the castle.

Paraphrasing Chris Hales post on G+ about the second session:

"On the second foray into the castle we found and killed:  some [more] spriggans, a ghost, a couple of skeletons and their skeletal children. Sadly we lost Conan (Gimli's barbarian follower) to the ghost, and a dozen goblins and a couple of War Dogs  due to various traps. Also one of the fighters, recruited among the refugees, lost all his hair due to a spriggan trick.

We found a lot of coin and several magic items: a trapped keg that releases poison gas, a ring of protection, a broom of flying that only works on the 3 levels of the fortress), an ever burning exquisite quality cigar, some "insanity apples" (save vs Poison or eater goes insane for 48 hours and then dies).

On the funny side, Nathaniel's thief decided to use one of the bathrooms we found. He triggered a poison gas trap that left him blinded for an hour. It might have been permanent but for the ready water-source he used to flush out his eyes. [Gimli fell into a double pit trap.]

In the final room we cleared, Kellan used his Robe of Scintillating Colors to stun the remaining goblins and Nathaniel's thief. While they were incapacitated, the valuables they hoarded during the clearing of the level were taken from them and fairly distributed among the party."

Back from the castle, Conan was given a proper burial, burning him in a funeral pyre with all his possessions.

The end draws near

Before leaving for another foray into the fortress, the town blacksmith, also a dwarf, gave Gimli an armor made of red dragon scales. It gives the same protection as a platemal (+1) and provides extra protection against fire damage (+5 on saves).

Paraphrasing another Chris Hales post on G+:

"Castle Zagyg is wrapping up soon. The next session may be the last for that setting.

An army of Dragonmen [draconians] & Dragons is marching towards Castle Zagyg. It arrives in 30 hours, although the PCs do not know when they will arrive.

[Meanwhile] some additional Castle Zagyg defense/contingency plans [are being made].

We've already got the cave entrances closed off. Behind those entrances are passages filled with as many traps as the refugees have managed to construct in the week or so they've been down there working.

There are functioning defensive siege weapons on the walls, as well as a functioning ballista on one of the inner walls. Additionally there is a magically powered siege weapon in the inner courtyard capable of firing anything, smaller than 3 feet diameter, up to hundreds of yards over the walls. Each of these weapons have stores of ammo from previous preparations. 

Kellan has been cultivating 3 varieties of mushrooms at Castle Zagyg for quite a while, several caves, long cleared, are filled with the different types. Entry in to these caves, without proper preparations could be hazardous. Since we can, Kellan will send refugees outside the walls to scatter spores of two types of mushrooms every night we can after the refugees begin arriving. The hope is that these will germinate and create clouds of spores as they are trampled by the approaching army.

The varieties that will be spread were never given specific names by +Joe Dimech, but both were acquired in Castle Zagyg. The first, which I call the Sleep Shrooms, are yellow and upon ingestion of the flesh or inhalation of the spores cause "deep sleep for 7-12 hours". The second [type], which I call Pacification Mushrooms, maintain an aura of spores about themselves and upon inhalation of those spores calm the target to a non-violent state.

Additionally there are "Shrieker Mushrooms" which emit an amazingly loud shriek when a creature moves in to their range (I do not know what the range is). These can be spread as well, but I would suggest less liberally. They could act as alarms to warn us of approach from the forested areas or by invisible or stealthy enemies, like their scouts.

The Ghosts [from the Fortress, who] we were able to convince to join the defense of the castle, might make excellent assassins to dispatch enemies, should they succumb to the sleep/pacification spores.

Perhaps this is a minor point, but we should collect whatever gold/silver/cash we can from the refugees so we can afford to buy whatever magic items the Zagyg merchants have for sale. There are items they've had previously that I would have liked to have now, that we just couldn't afford. We should be able to send them to scavenge whatever money they can from the nearby town. Fighting the merchants seems a bad idea as they are very tough and numerous.

It isn't ideal, but the refugees can plan to escape through the Mars Gate if the Castle is lost. Castle Zagyg supposedly has various doors to other worlds, we've only found one, which leads to a John Carter of Mars-type world. Heavily barricading the cave entrance leading to this area should be a priority to avoid access to the gate from being lost.

We should talk to Cobbler Eggler, if only to make sure he gets out alive. Although he only makes shoes, we should check him to see if he has anything interesting for sale. 

We should talk to the Merchants every time we suspect they may have something for sale. Roll random items is fun, and often very helpful."

The defense plans look solid to Gimli and he wholly agrees on collecting whatever valuables the refugees have to buy from the Merchants and/or EGGler. Also, Kellan could make illusions of treasure around the statues in front of the chapel, so that any dragon approaching would be attacked by them.

Gimli will organize groups of refugees to make any repairs that the walls/ramparts/towers may need .

"That's it for now. This is going to be rough..."