Monday, November 7, 2016

Play Report: Castle Amber Second Session

  Report on the first session is here. I have notes on how I changed the module to include creatures from Spelljammer, Star Wars, Traveller, the Elric series, and more in that entry.

  We left the heroes in the interior garden after a girl with golden skin had given them a silver key.
  The party continued down the path, careful to never leave it (especially after watching the trees tear a bear in twain. They ignored the squirrels with golden acorns and saw the goat-man tell the terrible troll that his big brothers were right behind him. At this point Son #3 used his 18 Charisma and leadership abilities to convince the troll that a richer, fatter adventuring group would be along any moment.





  There was a ferocious fight with the massive amoeba at the fountain that severely wounded both fighters, but they gained another silver key from the chest. Inside the chest they found a matryoshka doll and a secret panel. The opened the panel and a cloud of virtues in the form of butterflies poured forth.
  They refused to open the matryoshka doll.
  They encountered the Wild Hunt, which I had changed a lot.
  Now the leader was elk-headed and in a full tuxedo, including a top hat. He was riding a mechanical, steam-powered, magically heated war moose. And his 'wolves' were vargr armed with needler pistols. The leader did a lance charge and engaged the nobleman. The vargr began arguing. Some thought they were dreaming, others thought they were being mind-controlled by a psionic, and one thought the jump mishap and sent them to Hell.
  After the leader died his Charm ended and the party spoke with the vargr. The mage traded a dagger and a potion for a needle pistol. After some healing the party continued onward.

  They entered the chapel, healed up in the eerie choir loft, and then bedded down to rest. Exploring they were surprised by the statues touching them, but largely only had good effects or things they could fix. They met Charles and were very good at whispering near him. They got a fair bit of information from him, too. They ignored the animated robes; they actually summoned a bear to check out a room that turned out to be full of honey and giant bees; and then they met the bonemen.

  I had changed the room so that there skeletons were all taking notes on pads with quills and the bone golem behind the desk was wearing a bowtie, a green eyeshade, and was smoking a cigar. The accountant asked for the annual report; when the party didn't have it he said 'get 'em, boys'  and the skeletons attacked with their pens (which are, after all, mightier than swords). The cleric destroyed them, so the golem said,
  "Some things ya' gotta' do yourself"
  And attacked. After a tough fight the party prevailed.
  The party was now actively looking for Madeline, and found her. She gave them directions to the pattern and then went 'looking for her brother'.

  In the basement the party grappled with dreams brought on by the black lotus, then found the patterns. Their first pick was a good one, and soon the entire party was across and entering Averoigne. They found their horses, pack animals, and supplies there and quickly learned that they had travelled back in time 150 years....

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  As brief as the description is, this was several hours of great fun. When I finished describing an artificial hill opening up to reveal an elk-headed man in tails and top hat on a steam-powered moose ordering vargr is spacesuits to open fire with their needlers my oldest son said,
  "That may be the most amazing pre-battle description ever."
  Son #1 was very concerned about the moose, which he wants to keep as his very own. He wants to know if he can use a hat of disguise to make it look like a donkey in a straw hat.

  There was a ton of great roleplaying going on, and a great combination of fear, anticipation, and belly laughs all around.  The combats were all hard and swift and the players were fully in the mode of 'the chateau runs on dream logic'.
 
  As a DM I am glad that the chateau portion is over. As fun and funny as it is, it is really just the entryway to the actual meat of the adventure, which is a combination over overland and roleplaying.