Halls of the Mountain King Session 5 – The Sudden Stop

An airship approaches a dwarven stronghold in the mountains.

Halls of the Mountain King was the second 4th Edition Open Design project from Kobold Press. I ran the adventure in 2010 as part of the same Parsantium campaign as Wrath of the River King. Here’s the write up from the fifth session.

Begin here with Session 1 – Alarm in the Dead of Night.

As Ella tries in vain to get some information out of Ansgar, Sharden and Bolval examine the book they found in the saboteur’s footlocker. They figure out its title (Codex of the Illuminated Brotherhood) and that it’s both a book of rituals and an implement (spell focus). Saethus is able to learn more by casting comprehend languages – the book contains the rituals brew potion, cure disease, raise dead and speak with dead. Next, Sharden rips off Ansgar’s shirt to reveal many elaborate tattoos depicting fiery pillars, esoteric symbols and, on his back, the recent tattoo of a crypt. Captain Clovis comes below, threatening to throw Ansgar overboard but Ella persuades him to give her another three hours to interrogate the tactiturn dwarf. When the time is up, Ella still hasn’t learned any new information and doesn’t protest when Ansgar is thrown over the side of the airship.

Bolval, feeling unwell, goes to bed, tended by Ella, but the ranger is only able to stop the disease from getting any worse. The cleric wakes up with no action points and another 5 points of necrotic damage. Airman Brunerius Weitesland and Giroldus Flintknapper the helmsman are both showing early symptoms of the plague too.

Later, the Manticore is flying into the icy winds of the storm blowing around Mount Rygar. As the Golden Citadel looms into view through the snow, Clovis calls out that the mooring tower is unmanned! The crew battles to bring the ship down safely as a gang of frost giants starts lobbing boulders at those on deck. Krivinn mans the ship’s ballista and Saethus and Ella attack the giants while Khuma, Bolval and Sharden help the crew keep the airship under control. A boulder strikes Giroldus, killing him; several more rocks injure Captain Clovis. Sharden casts herald the storm unleashed to conjure a savage storm cloud which scourges the giants with lightning and thunder.

Despite the party’s best efforts, the Manticore crashes! All the characters apart from the levitating Saethus lose 2 healing surges and there are many casualties among the crew – only Clovis, Rabscuttle, Vianna, Boso, Sawbones and Matheus survive. Five tons of cargo are also destroyed.

As the characters stagger to their feet, the giants move in to attack. Krivinn uses winter’s arrival to step through shadow to the ground to engage his enemies in melee and soon finds himself surrounded by three giants. One of the huge humanoids swings his icy axe at Krivinn, but Ella fires a disruptive strike to turn his hit into a miss. This is the closest the giants come to hitting the well-armoured dragonborn, but the others have more luck lobbing boulders at Sharden, Saethus and Khuma. Nevertheless, the characters prove far too strong for their foes, picking them off one by one. 

The Golden Citadel

Once the giants are all dead, the gates of the Golden Citadel open and several dozen ragged humans come out. One says “Thank the gods you’ve come. Thank the gods. May they have mercy on you all!” Some of the Citadel-dwellers help the characters and the dwarves get the Manticore’s cargo inside. Clovis whispers to Ella that the chest of orichalcum should be left buried in the snow for now.

Inside the Great Hall of the Golden Citadel, the characters and the dwarves are greeted by Halston, an obese man wearing a pair of spectacles on the end of his pudgy nose. This merchant offers to buy the Manticore’s cargo at a premium although he doesn’t seem too keen on Vianna’s request that the payment is made in orichalcum rather than gems and platinum. During the negotiations, Khuma shouts insults and berates Halston, but the merchant doesn’t take any notice of him. Ella and Krivinn both suggest giving the food to the refugees for free but Clovis won’t agree.

When the negotiations are interrupted by Father Jappe, a priest of Lycilla the Wise Mother, trying to get food for the poor, Halston is dismissive, asking the priest where the bodies of the dead are. Father Jappe leaves, the jeers of the crowd ringing in his ears. Bolval and Krivinn go after him, following the priest to the camp where he administers to the sick. The two characters got a bit confused by Halston’s words and thought they referred to undead wandering the halls. In fact, victims of “greed fever” disappear when they get really ill, heading deeper into the citadel. Father Jappe reveals he has seen Heinsoo – the party’s nemesis arrived on the Drake and was asking around about somewhere called the Library of Thorvir Runeshadow. Somehow, he must have gone down below as the priest hasn’t seen him recently.

Meanwhile, back in the Great Hall, Clovis and Vianna sell all the Manticore’s cargo to Halston for 150,000 gp, paid in gems and platinum. The characters spend a bit of time getting their bearings before finding somewhere to rest. Krivinn treats Bolval’s “greed fever”, curing him.

If you’d like to keep up to date with my Halls of the Mountain King campaign and other posts, please do join my mailing list – there’s a sign up form on the home page and subscribers receive a free Parsantium supplement.

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Published by richgreen01

D&D gamer | Freelance game designer | Writer & publisher – Parsantium: City at the Crossroads

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