DCCZ: Defenders of the Red Keep

Into Castle Whiterock: Level 4-Cinderallis, Mad Daughter of the Red Doom (Year 2, Month 6, Day 15)

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Down a long winding, smoke-filled tunnel off of the worship chamber of Benthoc, Xoon and company find a demented red dragon with crippled wings sitting upon a pile of treasure and warming a clutch of eggs. Nearby sways the skeletal dragon the group had chased off during the previous night. Calling herself Cinderallis, the dragon tells the group that she is the wife of Benthoc and wants to know where her husband is. She seems confused. In a fit of honesty, the barbarian hero tells Cinderallis that they have slain her husband. The dragon doesn’t seem to be that bothered and repeatedly refers to Benthoc as an “idiot”. It’s only when she starts asking for her children, the red troglodytes of the cavern, that Xoon realizes the danger. He tries to exit the room but she grows more agitated, finally breathing fire on the group. La La, Dandalv and poor Oinker are caught full in the blast and are burnt to charred husks! Then Cinderallis cries out in a unknown language. As the dragon roars, Asefeh fires two arrows into the it’s smoking maw, causing the beast to choke and cough. Xoon charges the dragon, smashing it’s skull into pulp with the power of Mourngrummel!

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https://cthulhuburger.deviantart.com/favourites/39909172/Badass-Monsters
At that moment, the mighty troglodyte champion Grzzlk appears in the tunnel behind the party to answer his mother’s call. The warrior brings a cadre of warriors with him. Seeing Cinderallis dead, the champion backs up and studies the heroes with cold reptillian eyes. Angry at being burned by the dragon, Kolash the Cave Bear charges and mortally wounds the trog. Asefeh puts the champion down with two well placed arrows, one for each eye. The band of troglodytes runs in fear. Meanwhile, Brother Jon heals Dandalv, Oinker and LaLa. The power of the Treemoot is mighty! The risen Dandalv hurls a terrible fireball at the fleeing trogs, incinerating them before they escaped.
In the dragon’s humble hoard, the party finds much gold, platinum and jewels, along with some magic harp strings (the Sorrowsong Harp!), a silver scroll tube containing the arcane runes of the spells of Ekim’s Mystical Mask, Consult Spirit, Magic Mouth, and a powerful incantation to communicate with the Demon Prince of Storms and Waste! Dandalv is intrigued; he has heard whispers about the power of Azi Dahaka.
Xoon severs the dragon’s head, a trophy for his keep. Then he takes the dragon’s heart, performs an ancient ritual he learned from his tribe, and eats it. In seconds, the barbarian’s faces contorts, growing huge teeth. His hands morph into terrifying red claws. He transforms into a bestial terror that can barely restrain itself from attack its allies.

The party explores another chamber, this one east of Benthoc’s great cave. This one is filled with webs and the bones and carcasses of unlucky victims. Dragon Xoon narrowly avoids a pit trap, leaping back into the tunnel he came from. La La uses her magic cape to teleport across the pit and explore, but she is immediately attacked by a giant spider. The halfling avoids the spider’s webbing and the battle is on! Xoon leaps at the creature, striking it a mighty blow with his dragon claws. Asefeh rendering one leg useless with a piercing arrow. The spider screeches in rage and retreats back up into its webs. A flying hammer, deadly arrows, and a magical fireball end the threat quickly. Amongst the bones and offal, La La finds a copper scroll tube with a dragonskin parchment inside containing the spell Control Fire. Meanwhile, Xoon returns to his normal, human form, much to the relief of his companions.
Next the party finds itself in a strange labyrinth filled with numerous cave eels attacking from their hidey holes. It takes awhile, but Asefeh and Xoon handle the problem with hammer and bow. They discover a long passage leading down into the next level of this endless dungeon.
The company decides to return to the Red Keep with its newfound treasure. Exiting the castle without incident, the company travels down the mountainside and into the forest. Brother Jon opens the pathway to the Green, and the party is instantly teleported to a tree near the Red Keep.

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Into Castle Whiterock: Level 4-Benthoc, High Priest of the Red Doom! (Year 2, Month 6, Day 14-15.)

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Xoon & Co. seek to bed down and rest so that Dandalv can study Mend from his spellbook to fix the Sorrowsong flute.

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while on watch, Xoon hears a fluttering noise and wakes up the party. Dandalv discovers his bag of gold is missing.
They search the cavern and find nothing . . . but Kolash senses something hovering above them.
fireballs don’t work.
detect magic reveals an imp flying above them; Dandalv magic missiles it. Kolash sits on it. BJ heals it.
it wakes up but isn’t cooperative. it does mention the Impressario, a name Dandalv recognizes as the dwarf master of the Bleak Theater in the Dark World. They return the imp to its native plane.
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Then they are assaulted by two large dragon skeletons but they make quick work of one and the other runs away.
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the company defeats a great number of troglodyte warriors
they discover the living quarters of the female and child trogs and leave them be
They return to the dead warriors; BJ casts Speak With Dead. They discover that the Trog leader is called Benthoc and that he is the Priest of the Red Doom and apparently a bad ass. The dead trog tells them which way to go so they can get their asses kicked.
The party follows directions and finds themselves in a great chamber, marked by a smoking pit, the statue of a dragon, some creepy trog acolytes and some half-dragon abomination that is apparently Benthoc.
Battle insues—
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The acolytes turn out to be weird cold trog-wights.
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by rocketworm
Dandalv turns several to stone-in the process, he tears the fabric between planes and something old and horrible slithers out and eats a spell from his brain (Levitation). He feels he got off lucky.
BJ turns the trog-wights, destroying one in the process. they flee.
Asefeh feathers Benthoc in the brain with several arrows, slowing him down. He tries to cast Silence, blindness and hold on Dandalv, but the wizard fights off his attempts.
Xoon closes with Benthoc, who covers himself in the red glow of his god. Dandalv fireballs Benthoc, which only heals the abomination. In a fit of rage, Dandalv magic missiles Benthoc into ashes.

GM NOTES
_The BG was appropriately terrified of Benthoc, which made the combat fun.
5+ level warriors and mighty deeds are show stoppers.
weird magic makes things fun; I should figure out a way to add weird magic to every combat

I so enjoyed BG rolling planar schism or whatever and losing a spell to an Elder Thingy—I think it is a great balance to all the crap I dole out to him in our adventures. I need to find more ways to take things away . . . I think it builds a healthy attitude of “you get cool stuff and you lose cool stuff” . . . that’s how I want this game world to work. And I’ve always told him, you want something (back)? Just go quest for it.

should be some good loot from this fight: a healing potion which the BG has learned you hang around the cleric’s neck in case of emergency; a wand of Paralysis (not sure what he is going to do with that . . . might allow him to turn it in the spell fodder for Dandalv or let BJ destroy it for XP). Plus some dragonhide armor that would be great for BJ._

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Into Castle Whiterock: Level 4 (Year 2, Month 6, Day 14-Cont.)

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Cleaning Room
Destruction goes down the chute to confront six water elementals.
Asefeh follows…
Dandalv follows
Xoon, Asefah & Dandalv gets dropped
Brother Jon steps out of chute in time to heal him
La La drops down.
La La gets dropped.
BJ gets dropped
Xoon goes berserk and kills all the elementals.
-rolls BJ’s body: he’s alive!
BJ heals everyone.
They find awesome treasure: rust bag of tricks, elven cloak, gloves of arrow snaring, halfling jump cape

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Faculty Rooms: search, find “nothing” of interest.
Faculty Lounge: smashing down the door summons a metal wasp/wolf demon, which Dandalv & Xoon slay.
-discover secret vault in lounge, use code phrase to bypass phantasmal killer

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Vault
four constructs attack and are defeated; one is paralyzed for later study
when PCs destroy the bodies, the heads pop off and fly around shooting lasers; he got smart and started destroying heads first. I’ve got my hands full with this guy.
while investigating the room, party is attacked by animated table (transformer style), which is destroyed.
party discovers secret vault door & construct book (learn animate object with MM-powerful caster! OR sell for $50K gp—Dandalv convinces party to let him have it)

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The Stacks
LL crawls up a shaft to discover library room filled with weird menacing blue lizards (who must clump together to max attacks)
Dandalv launches massive fireball up the shaft, frying the lizards who had clumped together to get anyone coming up shaft
-they find some stuff, the spyglass being only of real value (goes to Asefeh)

Party Returns to Organ room to rest & Dandalv needs to memorize Mend to repair the magic flute.

GM NOTES
BJ & Kolash leveled after this session
BJ got the + 1 AC vs. ranged attacks from table
-Kolash got: 40. You do d6+str damage unarmed: There’s nothing wrong with them that you can’t fix with your hands… You go up one die each time you re-roll this.
→I think I’ll just +1d each of his attacks so d12 for bite & d7 for claws.
-need to bump Kolash to level 6

-party almost TPK’d. I fudged one dice roll to keep him in the fight, but he ultimately took all the monsters down himself which was impressive. It was a close thing. I was already planning the adventure in which his followers stormed Castle Whiterock to recover his body. What would have happened next? I have no idea.

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Into Castle Whiterock: Level 4 (Year 2, Month 6, Day 14)

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The company moved deeper into the foul-smelling cavern complex. They find an immense chamber arranged like an amphitheater around an ornate magical pipe organ. A voice emanates from the organ, and the company discovers that an ancient elemental spirit has been trapped in the instrument for hundreds of years by an evil elven sorceress. It begs Destruction and his allies to free it and asks them to find the Sorrowsong instruments: the pipe, the harp and the drum. Dandalv produces the charred remains of a pipe the group found in Drugilla’s exploding treasure chest. Realizing that he must use his mending spell to restore the pipe, Dandalv insists the party rest so that he can learn the proper incantations. But before they can bed down, the elemental warns them of a magic “wall” at the rear of the cabin.
Upon investigation, the company discovers the wall is an illusion. Passing through it, our heroes discover themselves in an low-ceilinged, ornately decorated hallway ending in a small iron door bearing a sign in Gnomish. A few minutes later, Xoon had smashed the door down with his magic hammer Mourngrummel.
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The company finds themselves in a four way intersection. They follow the passage to the left to find a large work room filled with dusty tools. As they move to investigate, the party is attacked by a small, animated cart. The cart is easiliy dispatched, but the ruckus awakens an alien creature: a xorn! Battle ensues, and the creature appears immune to much of the company’s attacks . . . until Xoon strikes it a mighty blow with his hammer, killing it instantly. The battle does little to lessen the barbarian’s confidence.
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Moving back to the intersection, the party heads down the right passage. They find themselves in some sort of dormitory, complete with a common area and individual cells. They are immediately set upon by strange constructs that appear to be a mixture of gnome statue and three-wheeled vehicles. The party triumphs quickly, Xoon with his mighty hammer, Brother John with his divine curses, Asefeh with her bow, and Dandalv with arcane fire. La La is content to watch her friends succeed.
After the fight, the halfling finds a small chute that leads down into darkness. She creeps down and finds a room filled with water. As she moves to exit the chute, six watery forms rise up and move towards her. She wisely returns to her friends above.

*GM NOTES
*-Dandalv leveled to 6: picked up Runic Alphabet, Mortal and + 2 on saves vs. spells.
-realized that Xoon was already level 7 (?!): picked up Swashbuckler (leave combat w/out incurring attack), Mourngrummel goes to + 2 & thunderclap on crits (Fort Save or dazed w/in 10’)
-if the party frees the elemental, it will offer to help activiate the magic water ring gift from the nixie which is a magical artifact.

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Into Castle Whiterock: Level 4 (Year 2, Month 6, Day 12-14)

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https://theroomfillswithwater.wordpress.com/tag/dd-monster/

The company leaves Castle Whiterock and, traveling the Green Path, magically teleport back to the Red Keep.
Brother John returns to his shrine, but sends Destruction several ravens as a manner to contact him in an emergency.
Dandalv disappears into the Black Spire.
Destruction tends to business at the keep. He orders Aurik to transplant a tree from the forest into the keep as an avenue to the Green Path. He inspects the guard. Zeb has used the horses captured at Whiterock to institute patrols of the road, thus encouraging travel and trade on the Hunter’s Path and the Old Road.
More folks have settled around the fort, including a blacksmith, a tanner, a weaver and a potter. Market days have begun every Saturday, drawing many of the local farmers.
The Red Keep grows rapidly.
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That night, Destruction is attacked by assassins sent by the Cult of Bobugbubilz but he defeats them easily by himself. His legend grows among his soldiers.
That day the company sets out to travel back to Silvercliff. Along the way they explore an area of hills off the Old Road and near the pass to the Broken Land. They discover a next of giant, horrific spiders, and they destroy them, thus making the area safe for settlement.
They journey on to Silvercliff and stay at the Inn of the Slumbering Drake. They speak to Lady Chauntessa and play with her little dragon companion.

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The next day they travel to Castle Whiterock. Near the site, they are attacked by Cultists of Jubilex. These assassins, covered in foul slime, are quickly defeated. Destruction unwisely tastes the slime and is struck by horrific visions of the Great Slime, its horrific will bent to his destruction. He is nearly struck mad, and Brother Jon has to heal his broken mind.
The company continues to into Whiterock. Traveling down into the depths of the fourth level, they are confronted by a horrific stench that makes Dandalv physically ill. In the first cave, they are attacked by weird octopus spider creatures that spring on them from their perches on the ceiling. The battle ends decisively as Destruction enters a battle rage and slays all the creatures, to the wonder and fear of his comrades.

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Into Castle Whiterock: Level 3 (Year 2, Month 6, Day 12-Cont.)

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Finally Destruction confronts Drugilla in the buried tower of her cloud giant ancestors.
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After dispatching her giant-sized henchman (made-so by the power of the White Roc artifact), the company chases her through the tower, as she flies in the air above them. After a lengthy battle, Drugilla is brought low as Dandalv turns her to stone. Her fall from high above destroys her stone body along with the powerful artifact she carried.
At the top of the tower, the party is confronted by a cloud giant skeleton! The conflict is blody, but ultimately Destruction and his allies bring the undead death machine down. In the ruins of the tower, La La finds a legendary halfling magical item: a bag of unerring stones!
Still looking to clean out the third level of this dungeon, the company explores the various tunnels around the sunken tower. They stumble upon a massive green slime, one that fills an entire section of the dungeon.
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With Destruction’s hammer and Dandalv’s fireballs, the party vanquishes this horror.
The company continues deeper into the tunnels, finding an underground lake. They are approached by a small nixie with a tale of woe; she is trapped in this cave by a great beast. Could the company save her? Destruction and his allies swim through an underground tunnel and confront a monstrous crawfish. After a brief skirmish, Brother John charms the giant beast and sends it on its way. In appreciation, the nixie gives them a magical ring, which Dandalv quickly discerns is a powerful artifact!
And with that, Level three of Castle Whiterock is cleared!

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Into Castle Whiterock: Level 3 (Year 2, Month 6, Day 12)

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http://texahol.deviantart.com/art/zombie-orc-horde-593137008

In exploring the third level of the dungeon under Castle Whiterock, Destruction finds an ancient beastman crypt filled with the undead. In a heated battle in which Kolash is once again brought down, Brother John calls upon the holy might of the Treemoot to turn the zombie horde. Asefah calls upon the power of the Helm of the Hill Giant Chieftain and grows to the size of a giant herself! Unfortunately, she immediately goes into a berserker rage and attacks everyone around her. Again Brother John saves the day, seizing control of her mind with the power of his Lotus Stare.
Next the company finds the living quarters of the beastman’s leader, Drugilla. Along with an exploding treasure chest, they also discover a map, annotated by the beastwoman herself. This leads them directly to the excavated tower and Drugilla. The battle begins. Through the power of the mighty artifact the tribe of the White Roc came to the dungeon to find, Drugilla transforms her four warriors into giants. Will Destruction and his allies survive?

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Into Castle Whiterock: Level 3 (Year 2, Month 6, Day 11-12)

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The company continues to delve deeper into the dungeon, this time seeking out a beastwoman named Drugilla, reputed to be the leader of the White Roc tribe. They discover an ancient temple that has been used as a training room for the beastmen, finding a secret cache of treasure in the altar.
Next they find a barracks filled with a group of beastman and battle ensues! As Destruction and his allies fight, another group of beastmen join the fray. It was a mighty confrontation, one that saw both LaLa and Kolash brought low by their foes only to be revived by the healing magicks of Brother Jon. After dispatching their foes, the company rests for only a second before they are discovered by another patrol of beastmen. Finally, with no enemies in sight and Brother Jon feeling the disapproval of the Treemoot, the party hunkers down in the beastmen barracks for the night. After a remarkably quiet rest, they awake to a new day and a continued search for the beastmen’s mistress.

NOTES
I added a new twist to wandering monsters in Whiterock, including an entry for “Enemy”. If I get this result, then I roll randomly for one of the party’s enemies from a past adventures shows up in the dungeon looking for them. He’s made quite a few, and I thought it might keep his past deeds fresh in his mind. For example, he has the cultists of Bobugbubulz after him, along with the followers of Jubilex, the Nightmen of the Lord of Iron and Shadow . . . just to name a few.

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Into Castle Whiterock: Level 3 (Year 2, Month 6, Day 11)

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Destruction and Company launched their assault on the third level of the great ruin that is Castle Whiterock.
They quickly discovered more beastmen up to no good and, with the aid of Dandalv’s knew fire magic, began slaughtering their way through the dungeons. After one battle, Brother John questioned the corpse of a beastman, learning some valuable information about Drugila and her quest for some “artifact”.
The group encountered a group of extra-dimensional apemen mercenaries, tough as nails and ready to battle.
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After some tense negotiations, Dandalv paid off the apemen and the mercs left, seeking to return to their own dimension. In this way, the party learned that extra-dimensional travel does not seem to work in the Whiterock ruins.
Next the group encountered two beastmen dragging a stunned lizard creature through the corridors. After dispatching its captors, they questioned the lizard man, learning that it had been captured in the level below, which was the home of its people. The lizard men are ruled by something known as Mighty Benthoc.

NOTES
-I’m going to have to come up with a way to counter the BM’s tendency to fireball everything in sight before asking questions.

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Into Castle Whiterock: Level 2 (Year 2, Month 6, Day 8-11)

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-completed level 2 after defeating and mentally enthralling Kaernga the Beastman Warlord in a mighty, bloody battle.
-found stairs down to level three
-heard about the White Roc tribe and their leader Drugila (Kaernga’s sister!)
-avoided the natural caves of Level 2 after hearing tales of a ghost!
-returned to Silvercliff and had a huge party that lasted for three days! And destruction spent all his money! And all of the party’s loot from the dungeon delve. It was glorious!
-met with Lady Chauntessa, proprietor of the Sleeping Drake Inn, who rewarded their work with free lodgings at the inn. She also asked the party to keep a lookout for any books in the ruins, and she offers to pay handsomely for them.

Carousing!
Destruction: A True Warrior’s Life. As “Heroic Carousing” (Carousing like Conan! Wine, women, song, and all worldly pleasures are yours, won with coin looted from Skull Mountain. You may trade gold for XPs on a 100 gp to 1 XP basis (maximum 50 XP may be gained this way per month), plus the following. Your brawling, drinking, carousing, and fighting has taught you a bit more about the world and yourself, and made you an even more formidable warrior than before! Gain a +1 to all melee damage rolls.
Brother John: During the party, Brother John won many converts to the worship of the Treemoot. The Treemoot was pleased, and blessed Brother John’s weapon Root!
[In the Service of the Gods. Your time proselytizing and serving with your order in the Bazaar of the Gods/Street of the Gods has strengthened your faith. Gain 5 XP. You may also donate up to 5,000 gp to your order, gaining +1 XP per 100 gp of treasure donated (50 XP max), and 10 XP for each magical item donated. Additionally, your god has deemed you worthy of serving as his/her/its holy avenger, bestowing a measure of divine favor upon your weapon: +2 to hit and damage, Demon Binding, outerplanar creatures hit must make DC 20 Will save or be bound in exact location for 1d4 turns.]
Dandalv: Disgusted by the partying, Dandalv holes up in the Sleeping Drake and pours over his magical tomes and communicates with extra-dimensional entities.
A Magical Breakthrough! Through your arcane researches and experiments, you have made a significant magical breakthrough!: Gain 1 additional spell slot of any level you can currently cast, and pick 1 spell of your choice to immediately learn.
Asefeh: During the party, Asefeh drunkenly insulted a mysterious stranger, who she finds out is a deadly assassin!
[This object of your public insulsts is now a deadly enemy, who will actively try to make your life difficult and, if appropriate, even slay you! Gain 15 XP. The insulted person may be amendable to some form of recompense, however…]
LaLa: Rogue’s Reward. Ah, profit! Through a series of burglaries, cut purses, and various swindles, you have scratched together a bit of gold. Gain 1d10x10 gp, and gain 10 XP.

NOTES
Holy smokes, but the BM rolled well on his carousing checks first time out of the gate. He rolled a 28+ on a d30 for all three mains! These tables are super fun and serve for great fodder for in game developments and storytelling.
Lotus Stare is stupid powerful for a 2nd level spell, or feels that way to me. The BM nerfed all three of the main big bads of Level 2 with that thing.

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