Monday, November 21, 2016

Play Report: Castle Amber - into Averoigne

 Part one and part two.

  Spoiler heavy for the module and for Clark Ashton Smith stories!

  The party had woken up in Averoigne with their pack animals, riding and war horses, and soon learned that they had been sent back in time from 1250 to 1100.
  Since their characters were from the region (or had lived there) the hints they had from the chateau were enough for them to create a plan and begin executing it immediately. They first headed straight for a Potion of Time Travel and encountered the bishop's men. After some serious roleplaying and zero combat (a ton of fun with PC assassins having tense faceoffs with local cultists, and the like) they were able to trade a magic item for a potion and leave. They then encountered people looking for the Beast of Averoigne. The party had already found the aftermath of a slaughter by the fell creature, but they found nothing.



  They met the abbot during the day and spoke to him. They learned that his mother's ancestor had been found during the last appearance of the comet, wandering naked and alone with no memory with only the ring of eibon to indicate anything about her. He was the first male descendant of that amnesiac wanderer. He had always kept the ring on him, but could not find it since the comet returned.
  They stayed with him that evening and witnessed his transformation into the Beast. There was a tough battle that worde down the party, but they prevailed, winning the ring. They told others that the abbott had been killed by the beast and that they had avenged his death.

  They then faced the Colossus of Ylourgne. They heard the pitch about a powder that could destroy it if thrown into its face from an alchemist and the archbishop. This led to a very fun moment as Son #4 (whose character has Wings of FLying), a cleric, approached the archbishop and said,
  "Excuse me, sir, but - I can fly."
  His perky, upbeat delivery brought down the house.
  The party set out to slow the colossus as the alchemist made his concoction. The nobleman mad passes with his lance as the Italian mercenary used her halberd. They were both damn near killed with a single blow each and fled, having slowed it down and noticed the container on its back.
  The assassin, showing a lot of recklessness, actually leapt from a nearby tree onto the colossus and scrambled to the 'backpack', which was sealed from the inside. The cleric flew up to the colossus with the fresh-made powder and scored a direct hit on the first try. The colossus slumped down. Moments later the backpack opened just in time for the person inside to be slaughtered by the waiting assassin.

  The party travelled on, eventually using a standing stone arch to enter the faerie realm in search of an enchanted sword. They dealt with the local faerie queen who sent them after the threat to her realms; a werewolf mage.
  This was almost their toughest encounter. The mage spotted them early. When they thought they had ambushed him they learned, too late, that they were attacking an illusion while the werewolf (with Detect Invisible, Invisibility, and Haste all cast on himself before he transformed!) ambushed them. The hasted werewolf with spells pre-cast was a heck of a challenge, but they pulled it out of the hat. They got the sword and returned to the land of Averoigne. They rested, relearned spells, and summoned Stephen's tomb.

  The tomb was a nice, weird dungeon crawl for them. They used a Silence spell to avoid the dragon, beat down the stone giant, used animals from a Bag of Tricks to distract and avoid the mud golem, and were just generally resourceful and they sped through towards their goal. In rather short order they restored Stephen to life, watched the destruction of the chateau and the return of the vargr, etc., to their own dimensions, and collected their reward. Then their characters in Seaward awoke from a very odd dream, each with a few magic items near them....

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  Unless I am running as part of a tourney or something I never run a module as written. This was the fourth or fifth time I have run Amber and it has been 20+ years since the last time I ran it, so it was modified very heavily. I focused on keeping the chateau very dream-like, Averoigne as much like a pulp/ 1930's Universal monster movie as I could, and on making the tomb dada-esque. I tossed in stuff from Traveller, Rolemaster, Call of Cthulhu, Star Wars, and Star Trek with tongue firmly in cheek.
  The feedback from the party was very positive. The main campaign has been a little Serious Business recently and a one-off was a welcome change.

  I heartily recommend the module for you for the same use!