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 sixth session. Fun to see I used the kobold “chickenhead” trap I’d written for the original Zobeck Gazetteer in this session!
Begin here with Session 1 – Alarm in the Dead of Night.
Although Bolval is now feeling better, Krivinn and Khuma aren’t – both appear to have come down with greed fever. Nevertheless, they’re not ones for malingering and the party ventures forth into the Great Hall of the Golden Citadel in search of information. The first person they talk to, a starving prospector called Ruben, explains a bit about the economics and some of the factions living in the Citadel, and also tells the characters no one, to his knowledge, has been able to open the great big double doors at the far end of the Great Hall.
Leaving Bolval to cast the traveller’s feast ritual in order to create food for a few of the refugees (even though Khuma tells him it’s pointless), the other characters go to have a look themselves at the doors. They are made out of adamantine and covered in intricate engravings not dissimilar to those covering Rabscuttle.
Next the adventurers explore the feast hall and some of the rooms near the entrance. Krivinn blunders straight into a “chickenhead” trap set by some kobold kids who find it hilarious when the dragonborn ends up covered in goop and feathers. Uncharacteristically, the paladin’s reaction is restrained and the party are able to learn a bit of info about how the kobolds came to the Citadel from Zobeck as part of the gold rush. Learning that the kids’ father, Lazy Toe-Belcher, is a regular at the Knucklebone, a tavern set up inside the airship mooring tower, the characters head there to find out the word on the street.
Drinks at the Knucklebone are very expensive so the characters decide not to slake their thirsts. Instead, after chatting to Tozzer the barman, Krivinn strides boldly past the kobold stair guard and into the presence of Old Ossa, the Squinting King. The venerable kobold insists on proper respect from the party but accepts Krivinn’s dragonborn flourish and Khuma’s stiff salute in lieu of genuine bowing and scraping. A few more bits of information about the situation in the Halls are gleaned including the fact that the chimneys in the Great Hall are cold because the elementals are no longer heating the forges.
Leaving the Knucklebone, Ella spots the dwarf firewood merchant Jorgen Stravbard hurriedly hiding a piece of cloth. After some pressure, he shows her the piece of needlepoint he’s been working on, much to Bolval’s amusement. Jorgen tells them that a secretive brotherhood of “Silent Masters” apparently rules the dwarves and that the deep caverns contain strange pale, mutated dwarf-like beings. To Bolval, these sound like the fabled “derro”.
The party decide to visit the dwarf camp next – here the gate guard turns them away, but promises to speak to Varden Redfel on their behalf when they offer to head down below and find out what’s happened to the elementals. Apparently the dwarves wouldn’t let Heinsoo go downstairs either.
Back in the Great Hall, the characters spot Rabscuttle at the adamantine doors, muttering to himself. The gearforged knocks several times in an unusual fashion but the doors don’t open. Khuma and Ella memorise the knock for latter reference. As Rabscuttle babbles about the serpent queen and liftgas caverns, the party take him back to their camp to see if Sawbones can “fix” him. Unfortunately, the doc says that Rabscuttle has always been that way! Meanwhile, Clovis has got wind of the fact that the kobolds in the Knucklebone are using airship parts as bar furniture and tries to get the characters to come with him on a raid to take it back. They aren’t keen.
At that point, a great crash comes from beneath their feet, shaking the whole Great Hall! The characters rush into the merchant camp and demand that Halston lets them go downstairs. He agrees.
In the cavern below, the characters find the dead bodies of several refugees, killed as part of some bizarre cult ritual. Symbols, similar to Ansgar’s tattoos, are daubed on the floor in blood. Ahead, one of three gates leading into the mountain has been smashed asunder.
As the characters take in the scene, a feeble-looking man looms out of the darkness. This is Ogdred who explains that Vianna was behind the killings and the broken gate – she turned into a dragon after performing her sinister ritual and smashed the door down. Khuma, who’s been behaving increasingly erratically recently anyway, isn’t sure what to think, so knocks out Ogdred by bopping him over the head. Then, a horrible howling starts up, coming from the passage beyond the broken gate.
The characters get ready for battle; Saethus casts wall of fire to make it hard for the enemy to engage the party. A warband of eight derro attacks but all either get caught in the wall or have to pass through it to attack, getting badly scorched in the process. Nevertheless, the enclosing darkness of the ambushers, the annoying guisarme trip attacks of the soldiers, and especially the bombard cannisters fired by the deathspittle bombardiers cause the characters quite a bit of trouble. Krivinn and Ella are both dominated, and others are poisoned or slowed. In the end, though, the party are too strong and overcome their enemies with Bolval delivering the killing blow to the last soldier. But, they can can still hear howling from behind the wall of fire…..
Korak save us until the Teardrop of Grajava can be used! – dwarven graffiti on the walls of the Golden Citadel.
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.
If you’ve already signed up and haven’t received a download link, please get in touch.