Gesta Gertrudis: Volume IV
Time for another Gertrude update. Alas, due to personal issues involving the DM, this will be the last update from this campaign for some time. Until then, Gertrude shall be put on ice.
Since Dunedin is no longer in lockdown, both these sessions were in-person.
Technically, the Dreamland was not at War. Massive political instability would be closer to the mark, since the King of the Dreamland – the fellow for whom Annalax and Friends fetched the Moon-Crown, all those sessions ago – had gone a bit batty. And by “gone a bit batty,” I mean “he’s now psychologically enslaved by the Crown, and is busy enslaving his entire capital city to build an eldritch tower.”
Somewhere, Annalax is no doubt cackling “I told you so.” Recall that Annalax was partial to simply running off with the artefact, and giving the King an imitation. Oh well.
But Gertrude is a bit different. She has absolutely no problem with getting the serfs to build a tower – it’s part and parcel of class privilege, and anyone thinking otherwise is a Filthy Subversive. No, for Gertrude, this is all about rescuing the poor King from malign magical domination. The poor fellow is ill, and needs help.
This created an interesting difficulty. Elknel and others in the party fell in with some local Revolutionaries. People who don’t so much want to heal the King, as overthrow and kill him. At which point Gertrude’s notions of aristocratic solidarity came into play – she finds the notion of Revolution to be fundamentally disturbing and a threat to the natural order of things. Peasants with pitchforks are to be driven away with a whiff of grapeshot, lest one’s own servants start getting ideas. Recall how the Crowned Heads of Europe reacted to the execution of Louis XVI…
But Elknel had a cunning plan. He told Gertrude that these aren’t really Revolutionaries. They’re just the King’s operatives, working to lure out any genuine subversives.
- REVOLUTIONARY: “Don’t worry. We have only the best intentions towards the King.”
- DM: “Roll Insight.”
Gertrude rolled a natural 1 for Insight. Since her Wisdom modifier is minus 3, this meant Gertrude managed to roll a -2 (I’d forgotten about the Jack of All Trades Bardic ability, but that would have merely turned -2 into 0. Let’s just say, Gertrude swallowed the story hook, line, and sinker).
So the next task was breaking into the King’s castle to free him from the crown. After a bit of wall-climbing and Dimension Door, we managed to skip directly to his throne room. There we found the King alone, with the perilous headgear….
- GERTRUDE: “Hold Person!”
The DC on the spell was a non-trivial 17. The session ended on a cliff-hanger, with the DM not revealing whether the King had successfully made the save. Unfortunately, this is also the point at which the conventional campaign needed to be put on ice, so it’ll be a long-lasting cliff-hanger…
This session was a bit of one-off non-canonical silliness, with a different (stand-in) DM. Essentially, the party woke up in the Dreamland to discover themselves facing the Thieving Cat. Recall, the Jack the Ripper of Dreamland Cats. But this time the Thieving Cat wanted our help.
Specifically, Alan the Wizard had been kidnapped by crazy Godriel, and needed rescuing. Poor Alan. He’s become the defining NPC of this campaign, all by virtue of being a cosmic chew-toy. Gertrude has never met Alan, but the poor fellow was clearly in need, so she was extremely eager to help.
The Cat led us to a tower, where Alan was allegedly being held prisoner. There the Cat informed us he couldn’t come along further. Gertrude – never the Wisest – burned her sole fifth-level spell slot, to cast Geas on the Cat. It was to wait at the tower door until we returned with Alan.
Inside, we found a corridor, leading to a room of knee-high water. And some undead opponents – skeletal and turban-wearing. Gertrude’s conclusion was that they were clearly from Shakiah, since they looked to be from a desert country. Nothing like a bit of awkward stereotyping, Lady Gertrude, and the less said about her ensuing casting of Vicious Mockery, the better.
Thendwyn’s Cone of Cold made absolute mince-meat of the opponents, though Gertrude did help with an Hypnotic Pattern. After dealing with the undead, we did a quick search, and found a Quill and an empty chest. Gertrude took the chest. The Quill was inscribed as belonging to Alan, and Gertrude had to clarify whether it was our Alan, or another Alan. It was our Alan, apparently. So far, so good.
In a follow-up room, we found Alan’s carpet (the one canonically nicked by Annalax), and a sleeping mimic-chest. Gertrude threw out a Silence to deal with the sleeper, while we recovered the carpet. Then we found a Giant Metallic Robot. The party got off a surprise round, and the poor thing never had a chance. Whereupon, we heard a female voice upstairs…
There we found Godriel, or at least what we thought was Godriel (it was later revealed to be a copy), busy with books. Poor Alan lay tied to a bed. Gertrude threw out another Silence (just as well, since even facsimile Godriel had some nasty spells), while Thendwyn’s Cone of Cold, and the rest of the party, did the rest. Yay. Thus ended a fun and not particularly threatening adventure.
Alan was freed, and desired only to return home for a mug of hot cocoa. Gertrude was actually quite smitten with him, but rolled a natural 1 for a performance check on a romantic song. Thank goodness.