It’s the Month of the Panther, Day of the Mongoose. The Snack Club are staying at The Green Lady in No-Ombrulsk, still licking their wounds from being humiliated by WHSCK. I ask them what lessons they learned from last session. Answers ranged from “don’t fight giant things you don’t understand”… to “don’t mess with WHSCK”… to “don’t go crashing through doors of strangers’ houses”. All good answers, kids, but the answer I’m looking for is:
Violence doesn’t solve all your problems. (As we’ll see later, this lesson is not learned… at all.)
Spoilers Ahead for Diogo Nogueira’s Halls of the Blood King (OSE)
Snive Silvyr, from several sessions back, the wizard in No-Ombrulsk who helped the Snack Club create three magical weapons… (and not Volter the Vizard from Mlurg Nar, who I mistakenly misplaced here)… comes rushing into the Green Lady looking for Coil Mahogany (LC).
Snive Silvyr reveals to Coil that he’s been looking at the alignment of stars the past few months… and has noticed a impending “Blood Moon” that only occurs once every one hundred years… and furthermore, his research reveals that during this centennial event, the Halls of the Blood King appears in our plane… and that the last time this happened, Seleana Mahogany, Coil’s great-great aunt, a legendary vampire hunter had went into the manor to destroy the Blood King (the first vampire), but vanished along with the manor the next morning. He calculates that the manor only appears in this dimension/plane/universe for only ten hours.
Snive tells them the Blood Moon appears… tonight! And it is Coil’s destiny to rescue his great-great aunt!
As it’s early in the day, the Snack Club have several hours to prepare. By now, the Snack Club should be well-versed in what this means. Four things, really: Gear, Items, Hirelings, and Research. Daot-Daot Doubt (EC) upgrades her armor and goes to a priest and ask for holy water. Aranna Weaver (AJ) does the same, (she plans to dip her arrows in holy water). Jahura Gaus (SB), whittles two stakes and buys some garlic. Gary the Snail (HA) makes a garlic-infused crab-cake. Fancy. Arden Vey (EB), too, whittles a few stakes. Jahura hires a fighter, Barbara the Barbarian the Second. Gary hires Him the Him. The Snack Club are gearing up… but they do absolutely no further research. Oh well. That’s another rumor table in my book gone to waste.
But.. But… Snive Silvyr teaches them neutralize, a spell they’ll need for the coming adventure. And with that… The Snack Club are off to the Halls of the Blood King.
Lesson Not Learned
They reach an empty field north of No-Ombrulsk, and sure enough, a large gated manor, surrounded by 12-feet walls with snares of barbed vines flicker in, as if from another dimension. The Snack Club approach and see two guards in front of the gates. Daot-Daot approaches and talks to them. They are human, but pale, with red eyes. Their stony faces betray nothing. They give very little answers save asking for an “invitation”.
Seeing how they can’t get past these guards without violence, Daot-Daot starts investigating the walls to the left. Aranna heads to the right. This is a good development. Daot-Daot wildshapes into a mouse to see if she can crawl through the vined walls. The vines begin to move and one snaps at her. She stops. Changes her mind and leaves. Meanwhile, Aranna circles the entire estate, and finds an broken part of the wall after five turns, but by this point…
Jahura had decided to levitate a tree and throw it at the guards. Lane Weaver (AB) is fireball trigger-happy. Gary the Snail, Coil and Lane are hit by the blood thrall’s barbed swords, causing severe bleeding. Jahura casts shield on his allies. The Snack Club, in other words, have learned nothing. At least the boys haven’t. They are still choosing violence over subterfuge. Many of them are hurt. Daot-Daot returns to join in the fray. After defeating the blood thralls, Arden Vey walks up to the front gate and opens it. Again. Zero caution, head through the front door, brute force attack. The iron gates bite him. Lane’s response? Fireball. The gate explodes. The Snack Club cheer. I shake my head in disappointment.
And also… ALSO… Why did they hire Barbara the Barbarian the Second and Him the Him, two heavy footmen… only to have them do absolutely nothing during a fight?
They walk into the estate. There’s a rose garden to their left and one to their right. They ignore it and keep walking, again, to the FRONT DOOR. Daot-Daot walks right into the foyer. The walls, are alive and pulsating. There are veins of blood pumping through the walls. There are eyes. The floor is a tongue-like texture. Daot-Daot sees a statue of a dwarf with his hand stuck out. She puts a gold coin in its hands. Aranna wanders in, looks at the coat hanger to the right, rummages through it and finds an invitation. Arden Vey follows. He’s told to prick his finger over the dwarven statue’s hand. He does. Nothing happens, but some of his blood gets on the tongue-like floor and the floor sucks it up.
Meanwhile, Lane is outside healing Coil, Gary, and Jahura. Spends three turns doing this. Daot-Daot and Aranna walk up to a set of double doors. It comes to life. It asks them what they want. Aranna explains that they’ve been invited to this party, flashes her invite, and tells the door they’re a little lost. Wouldn’t mind a little direction. The door opens up and tells them to come on in. Party’s about to get started.
Inside, they see four vampires hanging about. They’re chatting, waiting around. The Snack Club overhear their conversations. There’s apparently some vampire named Lord Daemetrius, who failed to come up with his blood tax quota and the Blood King is mad at him. Daot-Daot asks them what’s going to happen to Daemetrius. One of the vampires tells her, well, if he shows up, we’re probably going to kill him. The Blood King has very little mercy for people who don’t pay their blood tax.
Jahura wanders into a room. It’s a games room and a ghost girl with glasses is sitting there. She looks bored, but immediately lights up when she sees Jahura. She asks him to play a game with him. Jahura says alright. They play chess. While they play the lonely ghost girl talks. A lot. She reveals that The Blood Kings has a daughter named the Princess of Blood, but she’s not really his daughter, and she hates the Blood King… and in fact, she’s plotting to kill the Blood King… along with Lord Daemetrius. Ghost girl also tells Jahura to watch out for the Giant Blood Spider that the Blood King keeps as a pet… and this weird Living Blood creature that wanders the hallways. This girl keeps blabbing as long as Jahura keeps playing games with her, and he learns fo a planetary model upstairs, where the sun has a keyhole in it. She doesn’t know what’s in it, but it’s important.
The Bane of EB: Shelves
Meanwhile, Arden Vey wanders into a library and without care or attention to the fact that there are spikes on these shelves, grabs a book off the shelf and is immediately crushed by two spiked shelves on railings. It’s devastating damage. He’s more careful after that, tells Aranna and Coil to help him search the books. They find a book on how to remove one’s heart as a vampire and receive immunity from stakes and fire… with the Blood King’s handwritten notes in it! They find a treatise on how to use human blood for all that ails you. Another one, a diary, about a young vampire who lost his mother… with pictures of a beautiful banshee. A hollowed-out book with three vials of animated living blood inside. A spell book with dispel, hold person, protection, charm, polymorph, and arcane eye inside… but with strange words in its spells that may cause unintended side-effects. And finally, they find a hardbound copy of Twilight (yes, 2005 Twilight by Stephanie Meyers), but in a gem-encrusted, gold-plated edition.
Lane Weaver is examining the pillars in the Great Hall where the vampires are hanging out. It depicts scenes of vampires preying on aliens and other human beings. It’s becoming quite clear to the Snack Club that the vampires in this manor, at this event, are from multiple parallel universes and space-times and various planes.
Daot-Daot examines the gold throne at the front of the Great Hall. Finds nothing. Looks at this spiral staircase next to it that seems to lead upstairs. She goes on and immediately, the staircase seizes her and squeezes her. She tries to get out. Nothing. She turns into a bear and breaks free.
As this is all happening, Jahura and Gary the Snail have left the Great Hall. They wander into a dining room with a long table that seats 32 guests. There are beautiful place settings, and on each plate are dismembered human body parts. Servants are walking in and out, replacing body parts that are not fresh. Jahura and Gary hear muffled screaming in a northern door. They walk in. It’s the kitchen. Blood Thralls with butcher knives and cutting up humans and servants are walking in and out, throwing out the rotted pieces and taking fresh ones back to the dining room. Jahura and Gary don’t disturb them and the chefs don’t seem to mind them. They head into the next room, it’s a “pantry”, where six caged humans, upon seeing them are screaming at them to free them. Jahura and Gary don’t. They want to keep up the pretense that they’re guests and don’t want to cause problems. They leave.
Daot-Daot eventually joins Jahura and Gary to walk through hallways and keep exploring. They find two servants’ quarters. There’s treasure to be had. A ivory-infused mirror. A book of poetry to the Princess of Blood. Daot-Daot finds a locked door… and another door with what seems to be furniture shoved up against it.
At the beginning of this session, I assigned LC with the task of “TimeKeeper”. Each turn is ten minutes. His job is to mark each turn they do something and roll the random encounter dice. It’s a good system. Gives a player something to do. And thus far, the Snack Club have been in the Halls of the Blood King for three hours. Only seven left before the manor vanishes, taking everything and everyone inside with it.
/end session on the Year of the Leviathan, Month of the Panther, Day of the Eel
The Snack Club’s Portfolio
Stored in Wyrmskull Vault
- Chest of Gold from Hole in Oak = 1,994gp
- Skull with Ruby Eyes = 1,600gp
- Diamond = 463gp
- 102 Emeralds x 10gp = 1,020gp
- Gold Cube = 30gp
- 16 Gemstones x 26gp = 416gp
- 12 Gemstones x 100gp = 1,200gp
- 3 Rubies x 50gp = 150gp
- 4 Diamonds x 100gp = 400gp
- Jewel-Encrusted Dagger = 150gp
- Petty Cash = 4,458gp
- Tavern Income = 2,160gp
Hidden Cache in Great Forest b/w Mlurg Nar & Gnamph Nar
The Snack Club’s Real Estate
- Willowby Hall (Mansion in Ool Krut)
- Renovations: Building Wizard Tower (ECD. Y.Leviathan/M/Lion/D.Wasp)
- Dragons in the Dark (Tavern in Ool Krut)
- Y.Worm/M.Badger = +1,260gp
- Y.Worm/M.Wolf = +710gp
Chekhov’s Ticking Time Bombs
- So many plot hooks in just one little module: The Princess of Blood, the Giant Blood Spider, Lord Daemetrius, The Vampire Court, a planetary system, and Seleana the Vampire Slayer! And the manor itself! It’s basically a bigger version of Dr. Who’s TARDIS! I can’t wait for next session!
- So, technically… Lane Weaver and Jahura Gaus level up at the end of this session. But becuase it’s a “half-session” and they’re still inside a module, I’m going to declare they don’t level up unless they survive the Halls of the Blood King.
- Emma Frog is dead, but her infamous mass prison break in Ilthmar will have consequences.
- The Redclaws are allied with the Dolmenwood Drunes and HQ at Redclaw Castle
- Jahura has upset their patron, Ningauble of the Seven Eyes, by not retrieving the hair of a gorgon. They have been tasked with finding three rare and exotic magic ingredients to appease him.
- The Lens Room in the pocket dimension revealed a pyramid with three statues. How will the Snack Club get back there?
- Will the Snack Club actually attempt to break into The Emerald Slab?
Heat & Reputation
Session Counter for Levelling
|Gary the Snail||HA||L3||5||8|
DM Notes to Myself
I can see why this module won the Ennie for Best Adventure for 2021. There are just so many things to interact with, there are factions and so many interesting NPCs, and it’s all thematic and coherent. Unfortunately, due to the half-session on Halloween, we couldn’t finish, so it wasn’t a very satisfying ending. We’ll see how the Snack Club handles all these different plot hooks next week.
In other news, since our last session, I’ve been thinking about Glavos Roh (EB) quite a bit. While this character only lasted two sessions, there was a very strong arc and solid ending to his storyline. I don’t know if I’m reading into it, but Glavos Roh felt real… or maybe, coherent as a character. He was not a very nice person, he did decide to keep Nightraker despite the consequences after all… BUT… in Boss Ogo’s house, he was also the “not-nice” person who knew what to do and did it when he snapped Boss Ogo’s neck. When Aranna killed him, not knowing that killing Boss Ogo was actually the best (and only) course of action… it was like this “not-nice” person was redeemed in a way like Jaime Lannister or James “Sawyer” Ford was in later seasons. Both unlikeable semi-villains that did what they did because they believed it was the right move… even when everyone around them disagreed with them.
I don’t know. Just a clear character with a clear flaw and a clear arc who only lasted two sessions. There’s something about that. A short story that wrapped up nicely.