Tuesday 29 June 2021

Belswick 32 & 33: doing the dishes

Last time in Belswick, the PCs negotiated for safe passage with a bunch of frost giants who'd lost their holy silver cup. These sessions they solve the riddle of who stole the Cup of Thrymm and get it back from a lake hag. Also: playing nice with Orcs, saving young love and getting adopted by a Roc.

News: these are the last Belswick sessions for the coming months. I need a bit of time to recharge my Belswick inspiration and figure out how to move this campaign to a mid and end game. Also I need to get some other ideas out of my system: it's summer oneshot madness y'all! More about that later. First:

Who stole the Cup of Thrymm from its locked shrine?

It's a Guess Who plot! Only a few giants are small and agile enough to climb the shrine tower and squeeze through the narrow window. Hagden the half-stone giant turns out to be in love with Jarlsdottir Brynna; Brynna has hatched with the wise woman Denise at the mountain lake where the cup gets stolen and found again by Hagden, giving him the social standing to ask Brynna's hand in marriage.

Of course the players confront the pair down in the cellar, safe from other giants...but manage to talk their way out of getting splattered across the floor; they'll go bring back the Cup without telling on the couple. It'll be a nice way to win the giants' favor and thwart the enemy Arraynian spies who want to win passage for their own troups.

How'd that all go?

Pretty ok really. The band follows the old underground Dwarven canal to near the mountain lake where Denise lives. En route they meet Brian the Dungeon Bug and buy a lot of info and magic boots off of him (gnawed-off feet included). Brian in return warns them not to step in the Green Slime. Ricky the scouting imp finds a troll skull, rendered inert by intense acid. Brian helpfully lets the group know that Denise has a pet. Sort of a lizard, blackish, with wings?

They ran for it, of course?

Strangely not. At the mountain lake, the party chats with Denise. Redhaired Pyrrha, herself feytouched, makes a deal for an unspecified later favor: can Denise get her dragon to call on the Arraynians? Sure, sister! Mike the Druid wants the dragon to leave the lake (it's polluting it and killing all the fish) and offers his own domain as a new nest: after some haggling, also a deal.

Denise meanwhile is willing to give back the Cup of Thrymm if the party tear down a "possessed" stone hut on the shore. This turns out to be a shrine to the Nameless Saint of Ravens, who leads the pure of heart to destroy sources of evil. Sure enough, the hut is covered in ivy blowing against the wind. The party isn't really phased about tearing down a holy shrine: sure, it's a deal!

Bad things happen then?

What else? Shams the dwarf downs a potion of burrowing and starts to undermine the shrine; Barak the orc takes a potion of bottled breath and blows the shambling mound off the hut. While Barak is praying to the Raven Saint, the shambling mound sits on the ground gathering its wits - and the shrine collapses on Shams and Barak both. Even that isn't enough to give the slow shambling mound a real chance. 

Denise is delighted and promises to give back the Cup of Thrymm after one more night of admiring it. That night her pet black dragon walks up to the force field the party sleeps under and chats with Mike, catching his smell for later.

Then there's running, right?

Surprisingly, Mike stands his ground. (Smart. Running gets you swatted.) The following morning, silver Cup in hand, the group heads back for the Giant fortress. 

And they FINALLY roll the Roc-in-the-distance on the random encounter chart!

The giant bird circles behind faraway clouds and the party dives for cover - except Pyrrha and Mike who stand and admire it. One spot check later, the titan bird banks and lines up for an attack run. Pyrrha races off - and Mike gets snatched up for snacksies in an enormous clawed foot.

...as per usual for this player, who always gets himself into crazy situations. And sometimes even out of it: as a druid, he can talk to animals. "Papa, why did you snatch me up?" One awesome bluff check later, the Roc, thoroughly confused and also myopic, puts the hatchling on his back, from where it promptly escapes, diving down into the lake. Dad dives after - "son, no!" - but can't catch the druid. Then it remembers: it doesn't have hatchlings! And flies off.

It says a lot about the rest of the party that they just stand there and wait for the druid to roll up to them.

Meanwhile, the Cup and the giants?

Oh yeah. The session is winding up and I want to wrap things up. The party uses the Cup to win the Jarl's favor. The Arraynians get conned into visiting the mountain lake and aren't seen again. 

...except for their leader, a fair-haired woman called Julie; she visits party wizard Guy, wearing tattered clothing and covered in acid burns. She forgives him; she has recently talked to Guy's sister that he thought dead; and she lets him know that the White Rose of Arrayne can bring brother and sister together again.

Guy, not having foreseen this with his divining skills, falls for the honeyed words (and well-timed charm spell). As power gathers around Julie to whisk them both Elsewhere - no spell-words or arcane gestures here, but a pressure in the mind - the Arraynian's plans are rudely thwarted: Barak has sent his quarter-ton riding boar to chat with the lady.

A snap of power; a wizard saved; a paladin familiar returning later with stories of a great void filled with plastic, twisting forms of many colours. Enough to sink our teeth in after summer. Until then!