In our first session of the Gränsomrad Dale Campaign hosted by Fallout Comics, we created characters and jumped in. The adventurers arrived in Bronby, found an inn, made it their own, shared lots of rumors, and started their exploration of the nearby haunted keep. They defeated four hobgoblins, saved two men from the southern lands, and found some sacks of coins before retreating back to their inn and settling down for the night. So they didn’t make it too far in their explorations but somehow I think that’ll get corrected in this session as we’ll find out after the break.
My DM comments, as usual, are in [brackets and italics]. There are potential spoilers for The Haunted Keep from the Moldvay Basic D&D set, The Haunted Keep from Dragonsfoot, and N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God below the break.
The smell of breakfast greeted the group in the morning. Adil and Hadi had risen early, did some cleaning around the inn, and started cooking breakfast. O.D.G. [who the party learned is actually named Odgi later in this session] was passed out behind the bar even though Laila had carried him to a room the night before. As Laila tried to pick him up, he called her Charlene and tried to kiss her. So instead, Odgi was left there and a couple of gold pieces were left on the bar for him.
Heading out, various villagers were spotted out on the streets. Children fled when they spotted the group. A few men came out from the nearby mill. They cautiously answered the groups question about where to find the constable and so the party headed that direction. On the way, they passed another inn, the Golden Grain, and were welcomed inside by its proprietor, Bertram. Clean and significantly nicer than Odgi’s place, most of the group–except Thorbird–reserved some rooms.
The welcome at the constable’s was significantly colder. The constable, Grover, wasn’t simply gruff or rude, he was somewhat threatening. When the party explained what they had found at the keep the night before, Grover said that he’d let them off this time but if they went back into the keep that he’d arrest them for trespassing. With little farewell, the constable went back inside the building he had come out of.
Regrouping with Adil and Hadi, the group let them know how to find the constables so they could report what had happened to them and their companions who were still missing.
Next stop was the mayor’s. The mayor’s building was adorned with ornately done wood carvings. An older warrior answered the door and was quite cautious but the mayor, Zakarias Ormond, ushered the group inside. The group shared that they had been at the keep the night before and what they had found. The mayor was concerned and shared that various strange things had, in fact, been going on in Bronby. There had been crocodile attacks in recent months. More concerning, people had been going missing. Some came back but had changed…they were not as friendly as before. Some never came back…including Charlene, Odgi’s wife who went missing a few months ago.
Mayor Ormond no longer trusted anyone in Bronby and that included the player characters. If they could prove their trustworthiness, he would share additional information. They could earn his trust by finishing their exploration of the keep. When the group pointed out that the constable had threatened to arrest them if they trespassed at the keep again, the mayor suggested that they keep their explorations secret from the constable. [Hmm…mayor and constable at odds perhaps.]
The group then headed over to the village’s general store. The proprietor was very friendly, offering wine, but he didn’t seem quite sincere. He suggested that there was nothing odd going on in the village. People had not disappeared, they had simply left. An example was Kurken, who owned the old winery, he and his family left Bronby about six months ago to live elsewhere. Clearly, this shopkeeper was not on the up and up.
Heading back to the Golden Grain a bit before mid-day, a few men were sitting inside and occasionally sipping at ales. Gabor went over and tried to strike up a conversation but had only a little success. Not because the men were surly or rude or gruff or anything like that but because they seemed to have difficulty holding a conversation. These three (Lutz, Hans, and Fisk) all spoke in a very slow and stilted fashion. Unless prompted, they barely responded and did so in an extremely simple manner. It was almost like their brains were clouded in some fashion. Bertram explained later that all three had suffered recent tragedies, losing their families in terrible fires, and had been like this ever since.
Thorbird headed off to Odgi’s place. The old man was still drunk or hungover or a combination of both but the pair did chat for a bit. Odgi’s drunken ramblings claimed that the mayor had a “pet” vampire stashed away, that Chalene [Odgi’s missing wife] was taken by a vampire, that wine is evil, and that one should never trust a winemaker. The dwarf also showed the old man some kindness by going and buying him some bread and food (with the innkeep’s own money of course).
Adil and Hadi never returned. The group went and inquired about them at the constables and were informed that the two men had come by and reported their missing companions and kidnapping by the bandits but then had left. The constable had no idea…or so he claimed…as to where the pair may have gone.
Thorbird stayed the night at Odgi’s while the rest of the party stayed the night at the Golden Grain.
In the morning, they all rose before sunrise and make their way to the keep under the cover of darkness. The bodies of the hobgoblins slain in the prior foray were missing. Continuing past this room, they opened another door to find a room divided by a slightly tattered tapestry. A rather large spider–the size of a small pony–was on the other side of the tapestry and attacked. It was quickly and rather easily smushed.
Another room had dozens of leering, “demonic,” faces carved upon its walls. The party largely left this room unexamined and went off in a different direction.
Passing through a room with a small pool of accumulated water from a slow leak in the ceiling, two small rooms were found. One contained what looked to be some smashed furniture [Potential firewood?]. The other had a slimy green growth clinging to the ceiling. It dropped and just missed splashing upon the adventurer who had opened the door. A corridor led away, turned to the left, and led to another corridor with two doors. Thorbird headed up to the far door, with the others in tow, to listen and look for traps.
As he was listening at the door, he heard the sound of a slight scuff from the wall to his left! As he turned to look, a dagger poked out from the wall to stab him! The wall slide up and away to reveal a secret room holding four goblins. Hindered again by the cramped quarters, the adventurers were not able to dispatch the goblins before one of them started yelling loudly for help [Alok speaks goblin and understood the yell.] Alok was standing in front of the closer door that had been ignored by Thorbird. He heard movement from beyond!
[And that is where we ended the session.]